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INVESTIGATIVE TEAM 



Governor's Special Investigators 

Robert E. Wilson 
Michael J. Bowers 
Richard L. Hyde 



Balch and Bingham, LLP 

James L. Hollis 
Geremy W. Gregory 
E. Righton Johnson 

Kara M. Engelberger, Paralegal 
Deborah Daley, Legal Assistant 
Susan G. Hughes, Legal Assistant 
Barbara Watson, Legal Assistant 

Lydia Rooks, Legal Assistant 
Elizabeth A. Jackson, Project Asst. 



Wilson, Morton and Downs, LLC 

Keri P. Ware 
Rosyln S. Mowatt 

Linda Weaver, Paralegal 
Debbie Morelli, Paralegal 
Tracey Duren, Legal Assistant 
Cheryl Hicks, Legal Assistant 



Georgia Bureau of Tnvestigation 

Director Vernon M. Keenan 
Inspector John Heinen 
Special Agent Heather Strickland (Case Agent) 



Kelly Aldrich 
Renea Anderson 
Elizabeth Bigham 

Rocky Bigham 

Amy Braswell 

Leigh Brooks 
Michael Brooks 

Tonya Cales 
Ryan Carmichael 

Derek Coffey 
Jerri Lynn Coody 

Karen Crowe 



Dan Kirk, Assistant Director 
Monica Ling 
Gregory Linton 
Chad Lott 
Kendra Lynn 
ASAC Jesse Maddox 

Lindsay Marchant 
Christopher McKeown 
Megan Miller 
Rhiannon Morgan 
Carlos Murray 
David Norman 



Agie George 


SAC Denise Norman 


Lindsey Giddens 


Richard Otwell 


Earl Glover 


Trebor Randle 


Wendell Goodman 


Latoria Reynolds 


Brian Hargrove 


Janet N. Rhodes 


James Harris 


Evelyn Rodgers 


Mary Holder 


Deborah Rollins 


Wesley Home 


Amanda Rowlen 


Eugene Howard 


Rebecca Shaw 


Terry Howard 


Jamie Skelton 


Cecil Hutchins 


Kristina Smalley 


Cayce Ingalls 


Paul Smith 


Anita Ivy 


Jonathan Spurlock 


Marko Jones 


Sara Thomas 


Deanna Jury 


Lisa Vorrasi 


Lawrence Kelly 


Cynthia Wahl 


Klay Kil crease 


Benny Williams 



Georgia Information Sharing and Analysis Center 

Meredith Bailey 

Emily Butler 
Yvonne Darrell 
Heather Davis 
Kevin Garrett 
Yalanda Greene 
Laurie Lane 
ASAC Cynthia Ledford 
Stephanie Lockridge 
Jessica Price 
Mark Reinking 
Terri St. Romain 
Jan Roulain, Department of Corrections 
Deanna Scott 
Tammy Starckey 
Wendi Walker 
Keesha Walker 



ii 



Office of State Inspector General 

Elizabeth Pequeno Archer, Esq. 
Deron R. Hicks, Esq. 
William L. Donaldson, III, CPA, CFE 
Deborah Wallace, CIG 

District Attorney, Atlanta Judicial Circuit 

Hon. Paul Howard 
Judge Eleanor L. Ross (Formerly Executive Assistant District Attorney) 

Solicitor-General, DeKalb County 

Hon. Sherry Boston 
Investigator Steve Barresi 

Georgia State Patrol 

Col. Bill Kitchens 
Lt. Col. Mark McDonough 
Major Russell Powell 
Lt. Mark Hambert 
Sgt. Robert Moody 
Trooper Christopher Hinkle 
Trooper K. Reeder 
Trooper Chris Stallings 
Trooper Larry Miller 



iii 



Report Limitations 

This report is an overview of the evidence and our findings. It is not 

intended to include every detail or fact developed during this investigation. Nor 
does it include every relevant document. All notes, documents, transcripts and 
interview summaries related to this investigation will be available to you, and the 
appropriate authorities for whatever action, if any, is appropriate. 

Special Thanks 

The investigators wish to express their gratitude to Governors Perdue and 
Deal, and their staffs, for their support of our work. We also wish to extend our 
appreciation to Ms. Kathleen Mathers, Director of the povernor's Office of 
Student Achievement, for her indispensable assistance throughout this 
investigation. 



iv 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Volume 1 

JVlap of Schools ....... ........ ....... ....1 

Overview 

The JR.C/T • . . . . . , , » . . « » • • . • ■■....■■>n .•i...<>>...i.....<.i.......< .••■■..n 6 

Interviews and Document Review 

2009 Erasure Analysis ■••■■■i ■.■•in. in .i. i 7 

Standard Deviations C^hart ....................... . , ......... ........ ............ 10 

i^\.^P S -tsrasure .^Vnal^ysi s .......it...!,...... ■•■..i.,., <•<•». i...<i.... •...■••...,••.•....•>•......•■■•■••-. 1 1 

Verification of the Erasure Analysis 12 

Use of the Erasure Analysis in This Investigation 15 

School Summaries 1 5 

Investigative Compilation. 17 

Parks Middle School . 20 

Venetian Hills Elementary School 53 

Gideons Elementary School 60 

Kennedy Middle School ... lltMH mint 66 

F.L. Stanton Elementary School 72 

Perkerson Elementary School .77 

Connally Elementary School 85 

Usher/Collier Heights Elementary School 91 

Peyton Forest Elementary School ,,.,98 

East Lake Elementary School • . . . . . . . . • • ■ • • || ■■ in ■ ■ ■ • I* • i ft.l.rt... ....... ............ 106 




. . ......... . . , , . t . . . . . r *>i*«ai ■ • 



Vr»>. .>•!•> ..iir. 



125 



Scott Elementary School 



IKMKMIKtttll • IMIIKIIIItlllllMIMtllKIIIIIKIililK X-/ 



Deerwood Academy 144 



Humphries Elementary School 



■ ■■M«M»>'>PI<MMIMI<'<IM'4II«<M<<*>II«M**I>I MfM1*M<<)1( 



Glossary 158 



vi 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 
Volume 2 

(School Summaries continued) 

Dunbar Elementary School 161 

D.H. Stanton Elementary School 168 

Finch Elementary School 175 

Coan Middle School 185 

Dobbs Elementary School ...... — .....a,.,,,,,,.,,,,.,..,. ....191 

Toomer Elementary School ...204 

iBenteen ^Elementary School.... .207 

Beecher Hills Elementary School 

• Ml t i l l II II 1 1 II I Hi » 1 1 1 lilHI 215 

Fain Elementary School 219 

Slater Elementary School ... Illllllllllllllllllllllllll«lllllllll«llllllll>>lllllllllllll«l><<l>llll 226 

Thomasville Heights Elementary School 233 

Fickett Elementary School « !>•"* I..IIM III. Mill 242 

Hutchinson Elementary School 247 

Capitol View Elementary School 251 

Towns Elementary School 257 

Blalock Elementary School • MI.IIMMIMMIIMIII Illlflllllllllllltlt 262 

Whitefoord Elementary School ........ZQO 

Boyd Elementary School 269 

West Manor Elementary School 273 

Turner Middle School i » 1 1- f f f.i t? » f.t t it i t i »# 1 1 1 1 t ii i f t i tt f » r • i | t.n l;l till 276 

Vll 



White Elementary School 



280 



Harper Archer Middle School 







282 



M. Agnes Jones Elementary School .■•••.■••>••••■■•>»■••••••■•»• a........... ...... 

Parkside Elementary School .•■aaaa.a a ........ 303 

Bethune Elementary School 305 

Miles Elementary School .................................................................... 

312 

Grrove Park Elementary School ,,,,..,3 15 

Jackson Elementary School a a B ' ........ V. ......... .... ■ .... fl . ... ......... ...... ■ 318 

Cleveland Elementary School fllM<ll>IIIIMMIIIlllllllll.ll<»lllll»l 320 

Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus High School ..f.... ........ 322 

Benjamin S. Carson Preparatory Academy 323 

C.W. Hill Elementary School .... 326 

Adamsville Elementary School ■ a ■ i . . a »>. * . » a . * r ■ a * a a a « * * . a. *.»a..i»a.*. »■■..•>...■... ...a 327 

Cascade Elementary School • a ■ • ..... . ........ a. ............. a. aa*. aaa... a. *«...«............ a 328 

Heritage Academy Elementary School mint i ttimiimit .tun ■■■■ 329 

University Community Academy 330 

Williams Elementary School 335 

Herndon Elementary School * 336 

Bolton Academy Elementary School 337 

Morningside Elementary School .... 339 
Morris Brandon Elementary School 341 



2009 vs. 2010 




342 



APS Percentage of Classes with Flagged WTR's Chart 



345 



Glossary 



347 



vui 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 
Volume 3 

Questions • a a a ■ a a a ■ ■■<••■ n II ••■■■■•■I lllllllMiaiMHIMI 350 

Why Cheating Occurred... 

Targets i iimMitiimiimitii. i ixiton •■• i i 350 

Culture of Fear 441444.44.4144 IKtlt I • • I 4 444414444 4 4*4 4 4 * • • I 4* it *'«;* Ca4ilB4a**BI>«* >•<*•#•••««•••.••■• 356 

Dr. Jackie Boyce aaa ||<)i i a •••••••••.•••.•••••» a . • a a a 4 * a p « * * * a a a * . • • • • >■>•>••< tl'tltttlt'tltllll 357 

Jimmye Hawkins ... aia.**a4.aiaaaalaBaa.Baaaa.a.aa.aiaa...a...a..»ia.*..a4.*..4...a..*aa4...a.aa.a.a..... 359 
Michael Milstead a a a a a a a....a.aa..a a.aaaaaaa. a a a. a a a a ■ • a a a a a ■ aaa. a a a a a a . 361 

Former High-Level Official 361 

Patrick Crawford ............................................................ .r...,..,,,... 362 

Santhia Curtis I 4 I 4.4 444 363 

r i.^C ^C llCr S ...a..«aBaa.Baaa.aaaa.aaaBaaaBaaaBaaa.Baaa.aBaa..B.aaaaaBBaaaaaaB.BaBaBBaa.aBaa.BaaaaBaaaaaaBa.aaBB.4«.Baa..».a.. 3 6 5 

Ethics — 365 

Early Warnings .... a. 366 

Allegations of Cover-Up 368 

Parks Middle School • ••• .•■•<> M.<tMM><-<i>i>iiti>i<ii»ri>:n<a<Miii>PI 368 

Investigation at Parks 44.414.441444444441444414 1 1 l|l 1 1 14 till 14 II lltt I II (Vt.tl I ■ • • 369 

Meeting with Senior Leadership aaa * * ■ ■ I • a ■ • I 41 ■ a a • a • ■ a ■ • a a a a a a • a IB .aaa..aaaaa.aaB...iaaa 371 

Retaliation by Waller... a 4 » 4 4 1 4 4 1 1444444*444444 4 4 4 I I till I III Hill I III! I lull I ...BBBaaaa.a.. ....... 374 

Dramatic Gains at Parks 374 

Deerwood .Academy * ........378 

Alteration and Destruction of Documents 383 

ix 



Porter and Reeves Reports .385 

Media Request for Porter Report 

APS Reaction to GOSA ..4444I......... ••.•••••.••■...•4..4.444i,44......f..».i..., l 4.»,i.., ll 44l.».l4«l|..S,/V' F 

Blue Ribbon Commission ■■••4 .44.444.4 44. 444.....4..4.4.44.. 4444.444444. 392 

Test Security ....... ,.,,,.44,., ,,,.,44.. ,,,4,,,. ,44,. ,,,.,,4,,. J J J 

KPMG and APS Interviews 396 

APS Response to BRC Report... 

The Business Community 4 1 1 4 4 4 l|» >>K<III< • 114 < IIIM> MIIXxll I t I I ■ ■ • I I ■ ■ I I < 4 l 

HKKIIIIOIHIt II-KIK «IHIIll>tllt>> >4|KI 1 ,....•«. 4 .4144.4 1.4. 4,, ,4.4. ,4 

Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams 1 44 > • 4 4,I4..4,.444, 4 4 4 • • . . , • 4 4 4 . 1 4 4 4 ........I 411 I > > I < M I I 4 < I t I < t I I • I I • I 406 



41..44144.444.1...4. 4... .......................................... ........... 



Tamara Cotman .....407 



• ■«•••• .4...... ....44..,.. .,4.... 

Millicent Few 408 



Iv . • • • . • a. ....... ............................ 4. . ....... 

Dr. Beverly Hall 409 

41 1 



Office of the Governor 

Special Investigators 




June 30, 2011 

HAND DELIVERED 

Governor Nathan Deal 
State Capitol 
Atlanta, GA 30335 

Dear Governor Deal: 

In January of this year, you continued our appointment as your special 
investigators to probe allegations of test tampering and related matters in the 
Atlanta Public School System (APS). 

We have determined that cheating occurred throughout that school district. 
Our investigation found organized and systemic wrongdoing in APS well before 
the administration of the 2009 CRCT. 

Our investigative report follows. The entire file is available to the 
appropriate authorities, as you direct. Please let us know if we may be of further 
service. 



Very truly yours, 




■ 



Map of Schools 



Legend 

School Locations 

* Elementary 
■ Middle 

• High 

SRT2 
Wt SRT3 
SRT A 



K >'l|5i!<UAi»iSX 





* * ♦ 




Atlanta Public Schools Facility Locations 
2009-2010 



1 



OVERVIEW 

Thousands of school children were harmed by widespread cheating in the 
Atlanta Public School System (APS). In 30 schools, educators confessed to 
cheating. We found cheating on the 2009 Criterion-Referenced Competency Test 
(CRCT) in 44 of the 56 schools (78.6%) we examined, and uncovered organized 
and systemic misconduct within the district as far back as 2001. Superintendent 
Beverly Hall and her senior staff knew, or should have known, that cheating and 
other offenses were occurring. Many of the accolades, and much of the praise, 
received by APS over the last decade were ill-gotten. 

We identified 178 educators as being involved in cheating. Of these, 82 
confessed. Thirty-eight of the 178 were principals, from two-thirds of the schools 
we examined. The 2009 erasure analysis suggests that there were far more 
educators involved in cheating, and other improper conduct, than we were able to 
establish sufficiently to identify by name in this report. 

A culture of fear and a conspiracy of silence infected this school system, and 
kept many teachers from speaking freely about misconduct. From the onset of this 
investigation, we were confronted by a pattern of interference by top APS 
leadership in our attempt to gather evidence. These actions delayed the completion 
of this inquiry and hindered the truth -seeking process. 



2 



The APS General Counsel told us that one of her main duties was to provide 
Superintendent Hall with "deniability." Her aim was to insulate Dr. Hall from the 
burden of responsibility for making difficult decisions. This veil of deniability at 
the school level was aptly illustrated by long-time Gideons Elementary principal 
Armstead Salters, who told his teachers: "If anyone asks you anything about this, 
just tell them you don't know . . . just stick to the story and it will go away." 

There was a failure of leadership throughout APS with regard to the ethical 
administration of the 2009 CRCT. There are two main reasons for this failure. 
Dr. Hall's insular style and her isolation from the rank-and-file was a major factor. 
In addition, Dr. Hall and her top managers refused to accept responsibility for 
anything other than success. As Dr. Hall's Chief of Staff, Sharron Pitts, explained 
to us, "nobody ever wants to take responsibility for anything" in APS. 

Deputy Superintendent Kathy Augustine oversaw daily classroom 
instruction, and operated as the de facto second-in-command. She told us that she 
should not be held responsible for cheating that took place hi APS classrooms 
under her authority. 

While this may be an appropriate defense to criminal charges, it is an absurd 
leadership concept. Dr. Hall and her senior cabinet accepted accolades when those 
below them performed well, but they wanted none of the burdens of failure. 



3 



The first person to report cheating to us provided the same information 
months earlier to his superiors, only to have the wrongdoers quickly exonerated 
while he was reprimanded. This educator made these allegations known to the 
proper officials inside of APS. However, the district improperly handled this 
complaint in violation of its own policies. That inquiry was brought to a swift, and 
predictable, conclusion. The guilty went free; the whistle-blower was punished. 
This was not an isolated occurrence and was illustrative of the culture of fear and 
intimidation which promoted a code of silence. 

The Office of Internal Resolution (OR) was responsible for internal 
investigations, but lacked independence and gave those who wanted to report 
improper activity little confidence that complaints would be objectively, fairly and 
competently investigated. 

As early as 2006, APS officials improperly manipulated and hid information 
relating to CRCT administration, and illegally altered documents related to that 
test. The school district often failed to comply with Georgia's open records laws, 
withheld public information and gave false data to an agency of this state. 

Dr. Hall stated publicly, and several times, that she would "fully cooperate" 
with our efforts. However, the district was slow in producing documents and 
claimed legal exemptions where none existed. 



4 



All of this was done to keep from public view, and this inquiry, information 
which might raise doubts about the validity of the 2009 CRCT scores, and other 
indicators of success in the classroom. 

Blue Ribbon Commission (BRC) expert, Dr. John Fremer, wrote an op-ed 
piece for The Atlanta Journal - Constitution (AJC) which said: "...[wholesale 
organized cheating in some Atlanta Public Schools occurred and must be 
addressed. 55 (Ex. 1). Experts who assisted us expressed similar sentiments in 
saying that cheating is the only plausible explanation for the abnormally high 
standard deviations shown in the erasure analysis. 

One of the first tasks we undertook was to test the validity of the Governor's 
Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) erasure analysis. This was done with the 
assistance of our expert during a visit to the test facility of CTB McGraw-Hill. 
The erasure analysis is, without question, accurate and reliable. 

The statistics are astounding. For example, of the approximately 1,800 non- 
APS elementary and middle schools in Georgia where the 2009 CRCT was given, 
54 schools were flagged with more than 20% of their classes being greater than 
three standard deviations outside the state norm on wrong-to-right erasures. Yet in 
the 90 elementary and middle schools in the APS system where the 2009 CRCT 
was given, 52 schools were flagged with more than 20% of their classes being 
greater than three standard deviations outside the norm. Incredibly, almost half of 



5 



the schools flagged for being greater than three standard deviations outside of the 
norm in our state were from the Atlanta Public School System. 

THE CRCT 

The CRCT is a multiple choice examination given annually to all public 
school students in Georgia. There are five subject areas that are tested: reading; 
English/language arts; math; social studies and science. Students are scored as 
"meets standards," "exceeds standards" or "does not meet standards." The CRCT 
is considered an important test because its results help determine whether a school 
makes "Annual Yearly Progress" (AYP) as required by the federal No Child Left 
Behind Act. Every elementary and middle school within a school district must 
administer the CRCT at the same time and in the same manner, during a nine-day 
window. During the first five days, a different subject area is tested each day. The 
last four days of the window are used for make-up testing. 

Georgia law requires that the test be administered under tightly-controlled 
conditions. The test materials are delivered to the individual schools several days 
before the test begins. Each school designates a certified educator to be 
responsible for test administration. In APS, this person is known as the testing 
coordinator, who must ensure that the test is administered according to the test 
protocols. But the principal bears ultimate responsibility for ensuring how the test 
is administered. 



6 



Teachers receive training on test administration using procedures that 
specifically set forth how the test must be given. Any deviation from the test 
protocols is prohibited. 

In first and second grade, teachers read the test questions aloud and students 
answer questions in the test booklet by marking the correct answer. (Ex. 2). 
Teachers must read each question only twice, with no voice inflection that could 
suggest the answer. Third through eighth graders read the test questions for 
themselves and answer questions on a separate Scantron® sheet by filling in the 
appropriate bubble by pencil. (Ex. 3). Each test section is timed and contains 
between forty and sixty questions. Only special education students with specified 
accommodations may have variances in the test administration. 

INTERVIEWS AND DOCUMENT REVIEW 

On August 26, 2010, Governor Sonny Perdue appointed us as his Special 

Investigators to investigate alleged test tampering, and related matters, in the 
Atlanta Public School System. (Ex. 4). This order was augmented by oral 
directives that we were to: 

• Find the truth with regard to cheating, if any, on the 2009 
CRCT within APS; 

• Assist state regulators in sanctioning educators who participated 
in cheating; 

• Submit information to prosecuting authorities regarding 
criminal conduct, if discovered. 



7 



Governor Perdue emphasized that our mandate was to find the truth. He 
also stressed that teachers who were honest in their testimony should not be 
criminally prosecuted. You restated these directives to us upon assuming office. 
(Ex. 5). 

In order to gain an understanding of the overall structure of APS, how the 
testing process works, the relevant players, and what documents would be needed, 
we first conducted benchmark interviews of top officials in the district, including 
Dr. Hall, Dr. Augustine, Dr. Cari Ryan, and Dr. Alexis Kirijan. Most of these 
officials were interviewed again toward the end of this investigation. 

We interviewed the teachers and administrators at each of the flagged 
schools, as well as current and former executive directors of each school reform 
team (SRT). The SRT executive directors function as assistant superintendents, 
assigned to one of four geographic areas of elementary and middle schools for the 
district. They oversee principals at the schools within their SRT and report directly 
to Dr. Kathy Augustine. 

In addition to interviews of district personnel, we also spoke with scores of 
individuals from outside the system, who participated in the BRC investigation or 
served as consultants. We conducted over 2, 1 00 interviews and reviewed in excess 
of 800,000 documents. 



8 



2009 ERASURE ANALYSIS 

In February 2010, the Governor's Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) 
produced an erasure analysis performed by CTB McGraw-Hill on the spring 2009 
CRCT. The results of this analysis raised the possibility of testing irregularities. 
The GOSA erasure analysis, which was performed on the test answer documents 
for every elementary and middle school student in the State of Georgia, compared 
the number of wrong-to-right (WTR) erasures by grade, test subject and class to 
the average number of WTR erasures state-wide for the corresponding grade and 
test subject. The results of the erasure analysis showed that in 35 Georgia school 
districts, including APS, a significant number of classes had WTR erasures that 
were dramatically and disconcertingly higher than the state average. 

Specifically, CTB McGraw-Hill determined that if a class had WTR erasures 
more than three standard deviations above the expected norm (i.e., the state 
average), it was almost statistically impossible for such a high number of WTR 
erasures to have occurred without some external force operating to cause it. For 
example, at three standard deviations there is only a one in 370 chance that the 
high erasures occurred by coincidence and at five standard deviations there is only 
a one in 1.7 million chance. By seven standard deviations, it is virtually 
impossible — only a one in 390 billion chance — that such a high number of WTR 
erasures occurred randomly. 



9 



STANDARD DEVIATIONS CHART 



Standard Deviations 


Chance of Occurring 
Randomly 


J 


J. / J 1 V 


4 


1/15,788 


5 


1 / 1,774,278 


6 


1 / 560,800,000 


7 


1 7390,600,000,000 



In other words, some external force operated to cause the WTR erasures. 
Although a WTR erasure analysis does not indicate that the external force was 
cheating, it does suggest that something other than normal student erasing 
occurred. 

Thirty-five Georgia districts had schools with more than five percent of the 
classes flagged for standard deviations higher than three. (Ex. 6). The GOSA 
study grouped schools into four categories based on the percentage of flagged 
classrooms: "clear of concern"; "minimal concern"; "moderate concern"; and 
"severe concern " Eighty-percent of Georgia's elementary and middle schools fell 
into the "clear of concern" category, 10% fell into "minimal concern," 6% fell into 
"moderate concern," and 4% fell into the "severe concern" category. 



10 



APS ERASURE ANALYSIS 

The percentage of flagged classes in APS far exceeded any other district in 

Georgia. Of the middle and elementary schools 51% fell into the "severe concern" 
category. Of the "moderate concern;' were 18%, and 8% were of "minimal 
concern." (Ex. 7). APS accounts for over half of the "severe" category schools in 
the state. Parks Middle School, with 89.5% of its classes flagged, led the state in 
percentage of classes flagged for WTR erasures, with Gideons Elementary and 
Peyton Forest Elementary not far behind at 88.4% and 86.1%, respectively. 

The erasure analysis only flagged classes that departed from the norm by 
three or more standard deviations. But many classes in APS had standard 
deviations ranging from the 20's to the 50's. (Ex. 8). One classroom was at 53. It 
is virtually impossible for so many WTR erasures to occur without human 
intervention. 

Amazingly, many APS teachers had high WTR erasures in all three subject 
areas—English/language arts, reading and math. Not only did numerous teachers 
do something that was virtually impossible one time, but did it three times in a 
row. Even more amazing, several teachers in the same school did this multiple 
times. 

Dr. Gregory Cizek, our expert, analogized the chances of this occurring to 
the Georgia Dome being filled to capacity, with every person in the Dome being 



11 



seven feet tall. Dr. John Fremer of Caveon Test Security, hired by the BRC to 
conduct its own statistical analysis, described this in terms of flipping two coins 
three times in a row, and the coins land on their edge, perfectly balanced, one on 
top of the other, all three times. 

VERIFICATION OF THE ERASURE ANALYSIS 

We verified that the results of the erasure analysis were accurate and 

consistent. This study served as a guide to identify where cheating may have 
occurred, and it established the foundation for this investigation. We took the 
following steps to ensure its validity: 

• Retained an expert to review the GOSA erasure analysis; 

• Inspected the CTB McGraw-Hill facility and interviewed 
several members of the staff who were involved in grading the 
CRCT and conducting the erasure analysis; 

• Observed the answer document scanning process; 

• Compared the results of the erasure analysis to the results of a 
reanalysis of selected and random test documents; 

• Manually reviewed thousands of answer sheets and compared 
them to the results of the original erasure analysis; and, 

• Interviewed experts in the educational testing and statistics 
field. 

Based on these efforts, we concluded that the GOSA erasure analysis is 
accurate, reproducible, and reliable. 



12 



We retained Gregory J. Cizek, PhD., of the University of North Carolina, 
who is one of the foremost experts on educational testing and statistics hi the 
nation. Dr. Cizek is a Professor of Educational Measurement and Evaluation in the 
School of Education at UNC. He currently serves as the President of the National 
Council on Measurement in Education. (Ex. 9). After Cizek reviewed the erasure 
analysis, he accompanied us to the CTB McGraw-Hill facility. We toured the CTB 
McGraw-Hill plant, observed the answer documents being re-scanned and 
interviewed CTB McGraw-Hill's statistician and other personnel familiar with the 
scanning process. 

CTB McGraw-Hill's high-optical scanner read the students' test documents 
and recorded answers and erasures for each section. A computer used special 
software to determine when an answer was changed from wrong-to-right (WTR), 
right-to-wrong (RTW), or wrong-to-wrong (WTW). This data reflected the total 
number of erasures and the total number of WTR changes for each student in each 
subject area in Georgia. 

Next, CTB McGraw-Hill employed a statistical test to flag excessive 
numbers of WTR erasures in a class. (Ex. 10). The average number of WTR 
erasures statewide in a given grade and subject were compared to the number of 
WTR erasures in a specific class within the APS district. The proximity of 
erasures to the expected norm is expressed in terms of standard deviations. CTB 



13 



McGraw-Hill flagged classes that were three or more standard deviations above the 
state average. 

GOSA used a conservative criterion of three standard deviations. This was 
done to insure that only the most severe and questionable erasures were identified. 

We interviewed company officials and manually reviewed answer 
documents, counted erasures, and compared our count with the computer's 
analysis. This manual count of erasures revealed more changes than the computer 
scanning process. The computer is not as stringent as the human eye. The 
difference is not because the scanner missed erasures, but because it is calibrated to 
give the benefit of the doubt to a certain level before it considers a lighter mark. 

To confirm the study results, we asked that CTB McGraw-Hill re-scan both 
random and selected tests. The results of the re-scanned answer documents were 
consistent with the results of the original erasure analysis. 

We interviewed the two individuals from Caveon Test Security who used 
the GOSA erasure data and conducted their own analysis on behalf of the BRC. 
Neither disputed the results of the GOSA study. The top 12 schools flagged under 
their "Caveon Index" were identical to the highest flagged schools under the 
GOSA analysis. 



14 



USE OF THE ERASURE ANALYSIS IN THIS INVESTIGATION 

The erasure data helped us prioritize interviews of educators at the schools 

to allow us to efficiently focus our efforts. We also used this information when we 
questioned teachers and administrators, since they had not been provided with this 
data by anyone in the district. 

We compared the student scores with other evidence to better understand 
what occurred in classrooms. The student data listed every student in APS and set 
forth how many total erasures, versus how many WTR erasures, appeared on that 
student's answer document. This information provided an additional perspective 
for analyzing erasures. 

When student-level data revealed a large number of students within a single 
class with high erasures that changed from wrong to right 70%-100% of the time, 
such information raised an additional suspicion that someone other than the 
students could be changing answers. 

SCHOOL SUMMARIES 

Investigative summaries of the 56 schools we examined follow this section. 

We found that 178 teachers and principals were involved in cheating in 44 schools. 
Sixty-eight percent of the principals of the 56 schools were responsible for 
cheating, and six of those refused to answer all questions we asked them, including 
about their involvement in cheating. These six pled the Fifth Amendment, which 



15 



for civil law purposes, such as a Georgia Professional Standards Commission 
(PSC) proceeding, is an implied admission. 

An investigative compilation shows a breakdown of those found cheating by 
each school. 



16 



INVESTIGATIVE COMPILATION 


School 


Confessions 


Other 


Total 


Parks Middle 


7 


6 Unci Prin ) 


13 


Venetian Hills Elementary 


6 


2 <lncl Prin. ) 


8 


Gideons Elementary 


12 (Incl. Prin.) 





12 


Kennedy Middle 


1 


3 (Incl. Prin.). 


4 


FL Stanton Elementary 


1 


2 (Incl. Prin.). 


3 


Perkerson Elementary 


o 


3 (Incl Prin ) 


3 


Connally Elementary 


1 


1 (Incl. Prin.). 


2 


Usher Elementary 


3 


2 (Incl. Prin.). 


5 


Peyton Forest Elementary 





10 (Incl Prin.). 


10 


East Lake Elementary 





2 (Incl. Prin.). 


2 


Cook Elementary 


2 


4 (Incl. Prin.). 


6 


Woodson Elementary 


2 


3 (fuel. Prin,), 


S 


Scott Elementary 






3 


Deerwood Academy 


1 


3 (Incl. Prin.). 


4 


Humphries Elementary 


2 


3 (Incl. Prin ). 


.5 


Dunbar Elementary 


1 


7 (Incl. Prin.). 


8 


Dll Stanton Elementary 





2 (Incl. Prin.). 


2 


Pinch Elementary 


3 


6 (Incl Prin ) 


9 


Coau Middle 


1 


2 (Incl. Prim). 


3 


Dobbs Elementary 


4 


2 (Incl Prin.). 


6 


Toomcr Elementary 


3 (Incl. Prim). 


1 


4 


Benteen Elementary 





3 (Incl. Prin.) 


3 


Beecher Hills Elementary 


3 


1 (Incl. Prin.), 


4 


Fain Elementary 


2 


2 (Incl. Prin,). 


A 


Slater Elementary 


2 


3 (Incl. Prin.). 


5 


Thomasville Heights Elementary 


2 


2 (incl. Prin V 


4 


Fiokett Elementary 


2 


2 i Incl. Prin. ) 


4 


Hutchinson Elementary 


1 


1 (Incl. Prin,). 


2 


Capitol View Elementary 





1 (Incl. Prin.); 


1 


Towns Elementary 





1 duel. Prin.), 


1 


Blalock Elementary 





1 (Incl. Prin). 


1 


Whitefbord Elementary 





1 and Prin2) 


1 


Boyd Elementary 





1 (Incl. Prin). 


1 


West Manor Elementary 





1 (Incl. Prin). 


1 


Turner Middle 





1 (Incl. Prin.). 




White Elementary 





1 (Incl. Prin). 


1 


Harper Archer Middle 











MA Jones Elementary 


6 


1 


7 


Parkside Elementary 


3 





3 


Belhune Elementary 


2 


1 (Incl. Prin.). 


3 


Miles Elementary 


2 


1 


3 


Grove Park Elementary 


2 





2 


Jackson Elementary 


2 





2 


Cleveland Elementary 


1 





1 


Crim Open Campus 











Benjamin Carson Middle 











CW Hill Elementary 











Adamsville Elementary 





o 


o 


Cascade Elementary 











Heritage Elementary 











University Community Academy 


2 


4 find Prin ) 


6 


Williams Elementary 
Hemdon Elementary 












Bolton Elementary' 











Morningside Elementary 











Moiris Brandon Elementary 











TOTAL 


82 


96 


178 



17 



For each school we have prepared analyses of relevant witness interviews, 
statistical data and other materials. Listed below is some of the misconduct found 
in the school summaries. What is revealed is outrageous: 

• Teachers and administrators erased students' incorrect answers 
after the test was given and filled in the correct answers; 

• The changing of answers by teachers and administrators was, in 
some cases, so sophisticated that plastic transparency answer 
sheets were created to make changing the test answer sheets 
easier; 

• Changing of answers was often done at weekend gatherings, 
and in at least one instance at a teacher's home in Douglas 
County, Georgia; 

• A principal forced a teacher with low CRCT scores to crawl 
under a table at a faculty meeting; 

• Teachers arranged classroom seating for tests so that lower 
performing children could cheat off the higher scoring students; 

• Children were denied special educational assistance because 
their falsely-reported CRCT scores were too high; 

• Students requested that they be assigned to a certain teacher 
because that educator was said to cheat; 

• First and second grade teachers used voice inflection while 
reading the test to identify the answer; 

• Teachers pointed to the correct answer while standing at 
students' desks; 

• Teachers gave the answers aloud to students; 

• Some teachers allowed students to change the previous day's 
incorrect responses after giving them correct answers; 

• Teachers looked ahead to discuss the next day's questions; 



18 



• In one classroom a student sat under his desk and refused to 
take the test. This child passed. 

Following the school summaries is a comparison between the 2009 and 20 1 
erasure analyses. There was a dramatic drop in the percentage of flagged 
classrooms between these years. This was only after media attention and the state 
sent representatives to some district schools. 



19 



PARKS MIDDLE SCHOOL 



1090 Windsor Sired SW Principal: Christopher Waller SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pills 

Allanla. Geoi gia 3031 Tenting Coordinator: Dr. AJ fred KteJ 

I. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Parks Middle School in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, and 
2010. Fifty-nine people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Seven teachers 
confessed to cheating. Cheating at Parks is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, 
confessions and witness testimony. The cheating started when Principal Christopher Waller 
began at Parks and recruited two teachers to change answers in 2006. As the years progressed, 
more teachers got involved. In all years, the cheating was organized and facilitated by Principal 
Waller and Success-For-AJl Facilitator Sandra Ward. Assistant Principal Gregory Reid also 
participated. The cheating was reflected in the statistically improbable testing gains and 
extremely high numbers of flagged classrooms in 2009 for high wrong-to-right erasures. Parks 
bad the highest percentage of flagged classrooms in the State of Georgia. Teachers gave students 
the answers to the tests, organized changing "parties" where the answer sheets were changed, 
and illegally accessed the test booklets before testing. The cheating was conducted covertly so 
that Testing Coordinator Dr. Alfred Kiel would not discover it. 

IL STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


89.5 


4 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


51 


3 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


19(18) 


3(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


11.9 


3.2 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


29.4 


3 4 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.4 


3.1 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Narrative 

Christopher Waller became the principal of Parks in the fall of 2005. Waller directed 
cheating the first year he presided over CRCT testing in 2006. He gave teacher Damany Lewis a 
key to the room where the tests were kept. Lewis removed the plastic wrap from the test 
booklets and photocopied the tests. Lewis gave the copies to other teachers, who used the 
advance copies to give students the answers, A select group of teachers that Waller organized 
and trusted would change wrong answers to right answers each day during the week of testing. 
There is also evidence that Waller directed cheating on the secured writing tests. 

Each year Principal Waller and his crew brought more teachers into the cheating 
conspiracy. Waller, Gregory Reid, or Sandra Ward went to these teachers' classrooms and told 



20 



them it was "time to go." The teachers understood that "time to go" meant they were to go to the 
room where the tests were kept and change answers. 

Dr. Alfred Kiel was the testing coordinator for this school. He would not allow cheating 
so Principal Waller orchestrated Kiel's absence from the school building so the cheating could 
take place. On one occasion in 2009, Principal Waller took Kiel out for a "retirement lunch." In 
another year, Principal Waller scheduled an impromptu after-school dance so that the teachers 
could stay late in the afternoon and cheat without raising suspicion. Kiel once noticed that things 
in his office had been disturbed while he was out and became angry. After that occasion, teacher 
Damany Lewis took pictures of Kiel's office before he altered the tests so that everything would 
be put back in exactly the same place so as not to raise Kiel's suspicions. No one implicated 
Kiel except Principal Waller. 

B. APS J Knowledge of Cheating 

District Leadership knew Principal Waller was cheating. See discussion of Reginal 
Dukes 5 investigation into Parks Middle School in Volume Three of this Report. Dr. Beverly Hall, 
Dr. Kathy Augustine, Millicent Few, and others were aware of Dukes' investigation and 
findings. No action was taken against Principal Waller. 

Dr. Hall also should have known Waller was cheating at Parks because once he became 
principal, the school immediately made dramatic gains on the CRCT and other tests. For 
example, between the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 school years, eighth graders meeting or 
exceeding standards in reading increased by 31 percentage points, from 50% to 81%. The 
percentage of students meeting and exceeding standards in English71anguage arts increased by 27 
percentage points, from 54% to 81%. In math, the percentage of eighth graders who met or 
exceeded the standards increased from 24% to 86%. The percentage of students exceeding 
expectations went from 1% to 46%, a 45 point increase. In 2006-2007, one year after Dukes' 
investigation into Parks, the school met 100% of targets set by APS. 

There is no evidence that APS management instituted any additional investigations into 
Parks despite the improbable gains in scores and Dukes' conclusion that cheating occurred on the 
eighth grade writing test in 2006. Instead, APS publicly touted Waller and Parks Middle School 
for its achievements. Dr. Beverly Hall praised Principal Waller's performance, saying, "You 
have to find someone who is able to go in and, while not being a dictator, gets people's attention 
and articulates a vision and mission in a way that people want to be on board with it . . ." A 
copy of Sarah Torian's Beating the Odds at Atlanta's Parks Middle School is included as 
Attachment A. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Damany Lewis ("Teacher) 

Damany Lewis was the first teacher to assist Principal Waller in cheating. He admitted to 
cheating in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. In 2006, Waller asked Lewis, "Do you think you could 
get into something undetected?" Lewis was not sure what Waller meant, but said yes. A few 
days later, Lewis was summoned to the main office where he found Principal Waller and Sandra 
Ward with the CRCT booklets. Principal Waller looked at Lewis and then immediately looked 



21 



at the test booklets. Lewis then knew what Principal Waller was asking him to "get into 
undetected" — the test booklets. Lewis found a key in his desk drawer that opened the room 
where the tests were kept. Lewis used a razor blade to open the plastic wrapping around the test 
booklets, copied the test for each grade, and resealed the wrapping using a lighter to melt the 
plastic. Once Lewis copied the booklets, he placed a copy of the social studies test in Damien 
Northern's car and a copy of the reading and language arts test in Dorothea Wilson's car. 

After the students had taken the test, Lewis changed answers. On one occasion, Crystal 
Draper came to the room where Lewis was erasing. Lewis assumed Waller sent her. In 2006, 
Lewis and Draper worked together to change answers. Each year more teachers would assist in 
the cheating. In 2007 or 2008, Lewis, Draper, and Damien Northern changed answers. Teachers 
Adrienne Powell, Kimberly Oden, and Latasha Smiley may have also assisted that year. Tn 
2009, the group of cheating teachers grew again. The following teachers were present in the 
room where the tests were being erased: Crystal Draper, Damien Northern, Starlette Mitchell, 
Dorothea Wilson, Adrienne Powell and Kimberly Oden. Principal Waller always knew when 
and where Lewis and the others were altering tests. 

Lewis spent one to two hours per day altering tests. At Waller's direction, Lewis cheated 
every year that Waller was Principal. Waller gave Lewis access to the test booklets before 
testing started and Lewis made copies of the tests, handed them out and changed answers. 
During testing week, Principal Waller, Ward, or Reid would tell Lewis to go to the main office. 
Principal Waller would tell Lewis, "Do what you do" Lewis would get the tests and erase 
answers. 

The teachers only changed answers when Testing Coordinator Kiel was out of the school. 
In 2007, Kiel noticed things in his office were in a different place than where he had left them. 
After that, Lewis started taking the tests from Kiel's office into the room next door to change 
answers. Lewis either marked where the tests had been or took pictures of the undisturbed 
office, so he could put everything back without Kiel noticing. 

2. Crystal Draper (Teacher) 

Crystal Draper admitted cheating in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Draper first changed 
tests in 2006 and continued through 2009. Gregory Reid usually told her where to go and alter 
the answer sheets. There was one year when Principal Waller said, "The bins [containing the 
tests] are in such-and-such room." 

In 2009, Reid sent Draper to Kiel's office. Draper erased answers in the office with 
Damany Lewis, Damien Northern and Dorothea Wilson. While Draper was erasing answers, 
Sandra Ward and Starlette Mitchell came into the room with a blue cooler, put sixth grade tests 
in the container, and left the room with the cooler and tests. That same day, Kimberly Simpson, 
who had not participated in previous years, knocked on the door to Kiel's office. Because 
Simpson had not helped cheat before, the teachers were not comfortable with Simpson seeing 
them change answers, so they did not answer the door. 

Principal Waller directed Draper to cheat. Tn 2006, Principal Waller told her to go to the 
room where the tests were kept and change wrong answers to right answers. Principal Waller 



22 



would often walk by Draper and make comments such as, "I need those numbers." She said that 
teachers were afraid of Principal Waller because he would punish people if they did not do what 
he asked. 

3. Damien Northern (Teacher) 

Damien Northern confessed to cheating in 2008 and 2009 and possibly in 2007 as well. 
Members of the Parks Middle School faculty cheated the entire time Waller was principal. 
Waller recruited Damany Lewis and Crystal Draper and directed them to get others involved. In 
2007 or 2008, Waller told Lewis to recruit Northern because Lewis needed help. The teachers 
already cheating included; Damany Lewis, Crystal Draper, Starlette Mitchell, and Dorothea 
Wilson. 

In 2009, Sandra Ward sent Northern to Kiel's office where the tests were kept. When he 
arrived, he felt there were too many people in the room. He recalls that Starlette Mitchell, 
Charles Mitchell, Wilson, Draper, Adrienne Powell, and Latasha Smiley were there. Northern 
did not change answers that year because he did not trust everyone present. 

One year Principal Waller was standing directly outside the door of the room while they 
were changing answers. 

On another occasion, Northern found a copy of the test questions in his box. He does not 
know who put them there. 

Northern believes cheating goes on all over the district. He has had students that cannot 
read yet scored very high on the reading portion of the CRCT. 

Ward asked Lewis, Northern, Wilson, and Mitchell for copies of the Governor's 
subpoenas they received with regard to this investigation. Ward told them that she would 
provide them with an attorney. 

4. Latasha Smiley (Teacher) 

Latasha Smiley admits to cheating in 2009. Francesca Thompson-Flagle, a PEC teacher, 
gave Smiley a copy of the 2009 CRCT. The copy was difficult to read. Later that day, Gregory 
Reid told Smiley that Damany Lewis had a "gift" for her. Smiley found a manila envelope 
containing a legible copy of the tests on her desk. During the test, Smiley improperly gave 
students the correct answers. 

One afternoon, Lewis told Smiley to come with him. They went to Kiel's office and 
Smiley erased answers with the other teachers in the room. After the testing period was 
complete, Lewis came to Smiley' s classroom and told her to come with him. They went together 
to Kiel's office where Lewis took pictures of the room so that he could place everything back in 
its original place after they changed the tests. Smiley erased answers with the other teachers in 
the room. 

Principal Waller told Smiley to let htm know if anyone contacted her regarding this 
investigation. 



23 



5. Charles Mitchell (Teacher) 



Charles Mitchell confessed to cheating in 2009. In 2008, he started receiving copies of 
various tests, including the CRCT and APS benchmark assessments, in advance of their 
administration. He reviewed the tests and made sure he covered all of the material with his 
students. 

In 2009, Mitchell was told to report to Kiel's office. When Mitchell arrived he saw 
teachers were changing answers. While the teachers changed tests, Waller and Reid kept Dr. 
Kiel occupied. Mitchell changed answers three times that year. One of those times Waller was 
in the room. Principal Waller told the teachers that they were there to make sure the students 
passed the test and that they only had limited time to get the tests "corrected." Waller was 
holding a basket of the tests. He reached in and touched the tests and Ward said to Waller, 
"Don't touch those" 

Principal Waller gave Crystal Draper $1,000 in cash because her homeroom had the 
highest percentage of students pass the CRCT. He gave her the money on the way to the annual 
Convocation, in front of all the other teachers. 

SRT-2 Executive Director Michael Pitts came to Parks Middle School after this 
investigation began and told teachers that he believed this inquiry was racially and politically 
motivated. 

6. Starlette Mitchell (Teacher) 

Storiette Mitchell admitted to changing answers on the 2009 CRCT, but denied changing 
answers prior to that year. 

7. Dorothea Wilson (Teacher) 

Dorothea Wilson confessed to cheating in 2008 and 2009. Wilson does not remember 
what year she began changing answers but knows she cheated in at least 2008 and 2009. She 
corroborates the testimony of Damany Lewis, Crystal Draper, and Damien Northern. Wilson 
cheated because she felt like her "back was up against a wall." Principal Waller walked by her 
classroom often and said, "I need the numbers, I need the numbers." Principal Waller also said 
to her, "I don't get no tests, my hands are clean." 

Wilson testified that Waller "got greedy" in 2009. This led to more teachers erasing 
answers. 

On the first day of the 2010-2011 school year, SRT-2 Executive Director Michael Pitts 
told the teachers that Principal Waller was being reassigned because of the cheating allegations. 
According to Wilson, Pitts told the teachers that "[you] better not start saying anything if [you] 
have not already said it, because [you will] get your own self in trouble " 



24 



D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 



We interviewed Principal Waller twice and he was represented by counsel on both 
occasions. Waller denied causing or participating in cheating. 

Principal Christopher Waller was first interviewed on November 8, 2010. He could not 
explain the high number of wrong-to-right erasures at his school. He suggested that if cheating 
occurred, it was likely at the Brewer Center where the schools submit the completed tests. 
Speaking specifically about the 2009 CRCT, Waller claimed that he was absent the week of 
testing. Despite Principal Waller's testimony, multiple teachers testified that he was present for 
the 2009 testing. 

We interviewed Principal Waller a second time on April 18, 201 1 . After answering a few 
questions, he stepped out of the room to consult with his attorney. When Waller returned, his 
attorney informed us that Principal Waller would be invoking his Fifth Amendment right against 
self-incrimination. Nonetheless, he continued answering questions. 

Principal Waller testified under oath that he was not aware of anyone erasing answers at 
Parks. He offered several defenses for why he would not have been involved in cheating, 
including: (a) his "financial situation," meaning he was wealthy and would not compromise his 
integrity for his principal's salary of approximately $100,000 per year; and (b) the fact that he 
was a Reverend at a Methodist Church. 

Principal Waller said that the only person with a key to the room where the tests were 
kept was Dr. Kiel. Waller denied ever having a key to that office. Principal Waller told us that 
we should talk to Kiel. When asked whether he remembered any reports of testing irregularities, 
Waller identified only one instance where a teacher reported that a student wrote an answer 
down for another student in 2010. (This is in conflict with the testimony of teachers. Fabiola 
Aurelien reported cheating in 2006. Megan Eckert reported a testing impropriety in 2010.) 
There was also an OIR investigation in 2006 related to cheating on the eighth grade writing test. 

We covertly monitored a phone call and a meeting between Principal Waller and other 
parties. Waller told one of the cheating teachers that the "procedure was followed" and maybe it 
was the "school district or the state [that cheated]" He also said, "If you didn't erase yourself, 
you have nothing to worry about " Waller said that the investigators were going to try to get 
"everyone to lie" about what happened at Parks, and that no one had to talk them. Waller 
laughed about this investigation and said he intends to file a lawsuit against the Governor's 
investigators. At a monitored meeting, Principal Waller said that "no one [at the school] said 
they touched the tests" and that the investigators "[had] nothing." 

2. Gregory Reid (Assistant Principal) 

Gregory Reid was the Assistant Principal during all of Principal Waller's tenure. 
According to witnesses, Reid was actively involved and assisted Principal Waller in the cheating 
conspiracy. Reid denied any knowledge of cheating. 



25 



3. 



Sandra Ward (Success for All (SFA) Facilitator) 



Sandra Ward was the SFA Facilitator at Parks. When interviewed by the GBI, Ward 
refused to answer questions after invoking her Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate herself. 

4. Adrienne Powell (Teacher) 

Adrienne Powell was a sixth grade teacher in 2009. While witnesses implicated Powell, 
she denied cheating or having any knowledge of cheating. 

5. Kimberlv Oden (Teacher) 

Kimberly Oden was a teacher at Parks in 2009. She had no flagged classrooms; however, 
witnesses say she erased answers in 2009. Oden is no longer teaching in APS and we were not 
able to locate her for an interview. 

6. Francesca Thommon-F lavle (Teacher) 

Latasha Smiley says Thompson-Flagle gave her a copy of the CRCT booklet. Thompson- 
Flagle denied knowledge of cheating, or that she gave a copy of the test to anyone. 

E. Testimony of Additional Witnesses 

1. Stacey Johnson (Teacher) 

Stacey Johnson taught math at Parks. Waller asked Johnson to cheat and said that he just 
wanted to look good and would Johnson help make him look good. Johnson refused to cheat and 
felt ostracized by Principal Waller for her refusal. For example, Waller would meet with all of 
the academic coaches but specifically excluded Johnson. Waller would also make references to 
Johnson not being on "his team" in front of other teachers. 

Principal Waller ordered a clerk to alter attendance records so that the school would meet 
the attendance requirement of AYP. Johnson reported all of this information to SRT-2 Executive 
Director Michael Pitts in 2006. 

According to Johnson, there has been cheating in APS at least as far back as 2002. Three 
APS elementary schools feed students into Parks Middle School: Dunbar, Gideons, and Capitol 
View. Students from those elementary schools arrive and immediately take a baseline 
assessment test. Many of these middle school students would score on a first grade level despite 
having done well on the CRCT while in elementary school. These students were expected to do 
equally well on the CRCT while in middle school. Those expectations were unreasonable since 
their scores in elementary school were artificially inflated. 

2. Tameka Grant (Teacher) 

Tameka Grant taught at Parks from 2003 until 2006 and knows of cheating there. She 
testified that eighth grade students were given the writing question prior to the administration of 
the test. 



26 



Many of her students at Parks previously attended Gideons Elementary. Since students 
scored well on the CRCT at Gideons, Principal Waller often said that the students should do 
equally well at Parks. 

Tameka Grant corroborates the allegations of other witnesses. Grant's contract with APS 
was not renewed for the 201 1-2012 school year. She believes that this is retaliation for speaking 
out about the misconduct at this school. 

3. Fabiola Aurelien (Teacher) 

Fabiola Aurelien taught at Parks from 2004 to 2006. She did not participate in, but was 
aware of, cheating. Teachers cheated on the CRCT by improperly giving students the correct 
answers. For example, Damany Lewis walked around the class during the administration of the 
test and pointed out the right answers. On the eighth grade writing test, someone gave 
Aurelien' s students the question. 

Principal Waller failed to give Aurelien a promotion because she refused to help him 
cheat. Waller told her she could have the position if she "would be on his team." Aurelien said 
that "being on his team" meant "cheating." She told Principal Waller she would not cheat and he 
did not promote her. 

In 2006, Aurelien knew that Crystal Draper and Dorothea Wilson helped students with 
the CRCT. Aurelien reported the misconduct to Principal Waller, who said he could not take 
action unless she had more information. Shortly after Aurelien spoke up, Principal Waller 
informed all of the teachers that Aurelien reported cheating and then he reported her allegations 
to APS. APS conducted an investigation into Aurelien' s allegations and she was interviewed 
several times. 

Shortly after Aurelien was interviewed by an investigator for APS in January of 2006, 
SRT-2 Executive Director Michael Pitts held a meeting with the faculty. He told the teachers 
that "there is nothing you can do to make us think negatively of Principal Waller." Aurelien 
believes Pitts was trying to keep people from complaining about misconduct at the school. 

4. Megan Eckert (Teacher) 

Eckert taught special needs students and administered the CRCT in April 2010. While 
she was reading the test to her class, after most classrooms had finished, paraprofessional Chynel 
Walker came into Eckert' s classroom and asked to see the test booklet. Eckert initially refused, 
but then gave her the document. Walker quickly took the test booklet out of the classroom. 
Eckert followed her into the hallway where Waller was standing. Eckert believes Principal 
Waller directed Walker to get a copy of the test booklet. 

Eckert gave a written report of this apparent testing violation to her supervisor. Principal 
Waller summoned Eckert to his office and told her that she had committed a testing violation by 
giving Walker the test booklet. He ordered her to change the report to say that Walker took a 
"teacher's manual" rather than a "test booklet " Principal Waller told her what the report should 
say. He wrote up the report and gave it to Eckert to sign. Principal Waller submitted this false 
document to APS Research Associate Dr. Cari Ryan. 



27 



Eckert also heard about Sandra Ward and Starlette Mitchell taking tests out of the school 
in the coolers. 

5. Chyml Walker fParapi ofessional) 

Walker administered the CRCT to special needs children who are given accommodations 
on the CRCT. The test is read to them and there is no time limit for completing the test. In 
2010, Walker started to turn in the tests when she realized two students had not finished. She 
told Principal Waller. Principal Waller instructed her to turn in all but the two unfinished tests 
and then go get another testing booklet from Eckert. Walker went to Eckert' s classroom and 
took Eckert' s testing booklet. Walker went back to her classroom to allow the students to finish 
the test. She then turned in the tests and gave Principal Waller the testing booklet. Principal 
Waller said he would take it back to Eckert. Eckert later told Walker that the booklet was not 
there when she turned the test in, so she was one booklet short and reported a testing violation. 

F. Other Evidence 

SRT-4 Director Tamara Cotman told teachers at Harper-Archer Middle School to visit 
Parks and see what they were doing to achieve such good CRCT scores. See Testimony of 
Lebroyce Sublett at Harper- Archer. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Principal Waller directed cheating on the CRCT and a number of other 
tests. Gregory Reid and Sandra Ward helped Principal Waller facilitate cheating. Principal 
Waller directed cheating in essentially the same manner all four years of his time at Parks Middle 
School. 

We further conclude that Damany Lewis, Crystal Draper, Damien Northern, Dorothea 
Wilson, Charles Mitchell, Starlette Mitchell, Adrienne Powell, Kimberly Oden, Francesca 
Thompson-Flagle and Latasha Smiley cheated on the CRCT. Dr. Alfred Kiel was not involved 
in, and did not know of, the cheating at Parks Middle School. Given the efforts Principal Waller 
made to hide his scheme from Kiel, we conclude Kiel cannot be faulted for not discovering the 
cheating. 

Due to the highly unlikely gains in scores under Principal Waller's leadership, the reports 
of cheating from teachers like Stacey Johnson, and the investigative report of Reginal Dukes in 
2006, we conclude that Superintendent Beverly Hall and her cabinet knew, or should have 
known, that there was cheating at this school. Teachers felt as if they had no option but to do 
what Principal Waller directed them to. Several teachers reported Waller's misconduct in 2005 
and 2006. APS did not discipline Waller. In fact, SRT-2 Director Michael Pitts held a meeting 
at Parks and told the teachers to "stop writing letters about Waller because he is not going 
anywhere." Dr. Hall held Waller out to the public as a "model principal." Michael Pitts 
dismissed our investigation and said that it was "racist." Pitts attempted to interfere with and 
suppress this investigation. 



28 



MM 




The learning 
environment 
at Parks 
Middle School 
has changed 
dramatically 
according to 
long-time Parks ... 
teacher Daman'y ' 
Lewi3. ■ V;v 



us 



An inner-city middle school with many 
risk factors — 94% of its students are 
poor— has experienced a dramatic 
turnaround during the past few years. 
Why has this happened? The answers 
involve new leaders who received lots 
of support, a relentless focus on data, 
and Involvement by a broad range of 
partners and community residents- 



II o. recent years, Atlanta's Walter Leonard 
Parks Middle School has beaten the- 
I odds. Despite being defined. as a ,.: : .« 
"Needs Improvement" school for. eight - 
straight years — and despite serving 
, predominantly low-income. children from " 
^single parent households in a struggling 
urban neighborhood — Parks has witnessed 
remarkable improvements in student 
achievement. In math, for example, the 
percentage of eighth graders' exceeding the; 
state's standards rose from 1% to 46%. 



29 



In one year the percentage of eighth graders meeting. standards 
in reading increased by 43 percentage points, from 35% to 78%. 



. • '•• • 



• « 



These improvements have enabled the 
school to achieve "Adequate Yearly Progress" 
during both the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 
school years. It is no longer being defined as 
a "Needs Improvement" school under Title 1 
and the No Child Left Behind law. - 

Parks is the only middle school located 
in Atlanta's Neighborhood Planning Unit 
V (NFU-V). NPU-V is south of downtown 
and includes six historic neighborhoods, 
including the Pittsburgh neighborhood, 
where Parks is located. Pittsburgh has 
been a focus of the work of the Annie E. 
Casey Foundation's Atlanta "Civic Site," 
a long-term effort to make low-income 
neighborhoods more supportive of children 
and their families. 




During the 2005-2006 school year, Parks 
had 504 students j nearly all of whom were 
African American (97%) and low income 
(94%). 

Between the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 
school years, the percentage of eighth grad- 
ers meeting standards in reading increased 
by 43 percentage points (from 35% to 78%), 
while the percentage meeting standards 
in English/Language Arts increased by 21 
percentage points (50% to 71%). In math, 
the percentage of eighth graders who met or 
exceeded the standards increased from 24% 
to 86%. 

Why These Dramatic Gains? A wide 
range of interrelated factors have contributed 
to Parks' success during the past few years, 
including improvements made under a former 
principal, effective and visionary leadership, 
data-driven planning and instruction, high 
expectations for staff and students, strategic 
partners (and the support and funding they 
offer), increased discipline and professional 
development, 



Finding Effective Leadership 
and a Strong Staff 

When Dr. Beverly L, Hall accepted the lead- 
ership of the Atlanta Public School system in 
1999, she knew that she would have to look 
immediately at the leaders of the schools. 
She quickly began the process of changing 
principals based upon the performance of the 
students in their schools. "You have issues 
with principals when the schools are fail- 




30 




'You have to find someone who is able to go in and, while not being a dictator, 
gets people's attention and articulates a vision and mission 
in a way that people want to be on board with it...." 

—Dr. Beverly L Hall 




{ Principal 
I Christopher Waller 
| hired an assistant 
|. principal to handle 
I discipline so 
S he could focus 
£ on improving 
■ academics. 



ing>" she says, She sought leaders with high 
standards and a commitment to making sure 
students succeed. 

"You have to find someone who is able 
to lead," Hall explains. "That sounds vague, 
but they must be abb to go in and, while not 
being a dictator, get people s attention and 
articulate a vision and mission in a way that 
people want to be on board with it,..." 

Christopher Waller was that person for 
Parks Middle School, becoming principal 
in February 2005. "T thought [Waller] pos- 
sessed the leadership skills/ 1 Hall said. ,r l 
knew he cared personally for poor children. 
He identified with them and knew their 
potential," 




WBfe;).(pi3(emented tiuripg'Jhe 2p06^2007.solxooh: ;•■ 
vyear are also. jb\:J^M Because the interviews 



31 




"Skepticism can mess up an organization, [f you have folks on the team who don't think 
you can win, you are in trouble. We had to get some people off the bus first. 
Then, we had to get the right people on the bus." 

—Christopher Waller 



ll.'.M«l.tllll4 1.1I.III>M>I>>-— •■• ...■■M.H.ll.ll.l.HllMlllllll.ll.HII 



........ ................. 



..........I........... 



But Waller was not the first principal to 
improve test scores at Parks. During the pre- 
vious three years, test scores had increased 
steadily, the result of a new approach to 
leadership begun by Superintendent Hall's 
"School Reform Team 2" (or o*RT 2) ..accord- 
ing to SRT 2 Executive Director Michael 
Pitts. 

"When I came in [to lead SRT 2], we 
brought in new leadership at Parks," explains 
Pitts. "All of the principals in SRT 2 and 
across Atlanta Public Schools were being 
trained to turn a school around using student 
data and keep students engaged through 
unit-based work. We were trying to build 
teacher and student morale." 

Bat the principal who helped achieve this 
success had been dismissed in the summer 
of 2004, the result of alleged misconduct at 
a different school. This principal's dismissal 
caused unrest among the faculty and the 
community, and test scores faltered, creating 
an extra challenge for Waller. 



To help meet this challenge, Waller 
brought in a team oi new lenders that 
he recruited during his first summer. He 
hired a former elementary school teacher, 
Sandra Ward, to be the Success For All 
(SFA) reading facilitator. 

"Mr. Waller intentionally hired an elemen- 
tary school reading teacher to be the SFA 
facilitator because elementary school teachers 
have a strong background in helping students 
learn to read/' explains Project GRAD 
Executive Director Kweku Forstall, (Project 



GRAD is a reform model that provides sup- 
port for teachers and students.), 

At the recommendation of Jackie Daniels, 
the interim principal's mentor, Waller hired 
an assistant principal, Gregory Reid, to focus 
on student discipline. Waller recognized that 
his focus needed to be on instruction and 
partner recruitment. 

"If I kept doing all of the disciplinary 
work, 1 would never really have become the 
principal...," explains Waller. ''Having [Reid] 
on board has allowed me to be the principal, 
to deal with the things that principals have to 
deal with." 

Waller also hired a new Special Education 
Adrninistrator. 

Not only did Waller have to focus on 
hiring new staff, he also had to focus on 
making sure the current staff was serving in 
the most effective positions. "Skepticism can 
mess up an organization, " explains Waller. 
"If you have folks on the team who don't 
think you can win, you are in trouble. . .. 
So we had to get some people off the bus 
first. Then, we had' to get the right people on 
the bus. 

u At first, I thought that was it, but it 
wasn't. Once you get the right people on 
the bus, you have to get them in the right 
stats on the bus. That was the final stage 
and that is what we have been working on 
recently. . ..We are doing that based upon 
the data, performance, test scores and 
observation." 




32 



"Basically, all of the principals' issues are handled right here in this office. My job is to make sure 
that those issues are taken care of so that the principals can be instructional leaders and not have 
to worry about the more common things that they would have to worry about all of the time." 

— Michael Pitts 



. . ... ...... ....llt.MKi k ,».....»*•« »!,..» »...■.- .III... .\f ...... 

• < •'■■„■ 




33 



"The rubber hits the road in the classroom every day. 
Teachers need ongoing support and coaching to become very proficient/' 



-Kweku Forstall 



......■........•.••••►.••»»*-'«t»trt««i-it#tm»«*t«mn*»nt«iH«n»i»«"-««-"'« ,, »»«' , «» , >»*«»'»"*" , » , " , '"" , »"»«""""» , "-*»""**»**** 



Following Proven Reform 
Models and Emphasizing 
Professional Development 

No school can increase studeiit achievement 
without effective teaching in the classroom. 
To ensure that classroom instruction sup- 
ported student success, Parks faculty and 
leadership drew on a variety of resources, 
including the School Reform Team 2, the 
Project GRAD reform model, the Georgia 
Department of Education and others. 

School Reform Team 2 

When Dr. Beverly Hall became Atlanta Pub- 
lic Schools superintendent, she brought with 
her the idea of School Reform Teams (SRT). 
SRTs are designed to be one-stop shops, 
providing the schools in each team with the 
supports and services they need to most ef- 
fectively serve and teach their students, Each 
SRT, led by an executive director who has 
been a successful principal, offers support to 
its schools on maintenance, hiring and legal 
issues as well as teacher training, mentoring 
and coaching. 

"Basically, all of the principals' issues are 
handled right here in this office," explains 
SRT 2 Executive Director Pitts, "My Job is 
to make sure that those issues are taken care 
of so that the principals can be instructional 
leaders and not have to worry about the 
more common things that they would have to 
worry about all of the time." 



"Leadership team meetings have to be 
instructionally focused," explains Dr. Cheryl 
Huniey, a retired principal brought in to sup- 
port principals at Parks and six other schools. 
"'There are other meetings in which you can 
deal with the facilities and the technical 
aspects of the job, but the leadership team ' 
must have an instructional focus to deter- 
mine what they need and where they go from 

here," 

■ 

Project GRAD 

Project GRAD is the reform model that 
was launched in SRT 2 schools to help them 
improve student achievement and success at 
the beginning of the 2002-2003 school year. 
Project GRAD seeks to ensure a quality pub- 
lic school education for all at-risk children in 
economically disadvantaged communities so 
that high school graduation rates increase and 
graduates are prepared to enter and succeed 
.jn college. It focuses on training and support 
for teachers to help them deliver quality 
instruction and effectively manage their class- 
rooms. 

Project GRAD includes professional 
development for teachers, ongoing support 
with constructive feedback, coaching and 
re-training when necessary. This support has 
been critical, -Waller believes. "It was the 
professional development that paved the way 
to increase the teachers' knowledge base and 
their arsenals of strategies." 



34 



"Data increases your awareness. You can't know 
where you are going if you don't know where you are." 

—Christopher Waller 

..... . ... , ....-*,{.■• . >. ...... , . ii» . . . .... • . . • 



Using Data m the Classroom 



Data has become a critical tool to improve stu- 
dent success at Parks Middle School, being used 
by the school's teachers and administrators in 
their planning and Instruction. They use data to 
regularly assess how well students are learning, 
whether the school is meeting Its School Reform 
Team-required benchmarks and whether students 
are prepared for their 'Criterion Referenced Com- 
petency Tests/' 

After conveying information focused on a set 
of objectives (such as measuring perimeter and 
area), a teacher will assess the students' mastery 
of those objectives with a short test. Each ques- 
tion will be linked tD one of the covered objec- 
tives. The teacher will review the results of the 




assessment and will compile a summary for each 
student of which questions they missed and how 
these questions align with the learning objectives. 

The students will be assigned to small groups 
or "pods" based upon which objectives they 
hadn't mastered. For the next few days, the small 
groups will work together on problems related 
to that objective and review their homework and 
class notes on that topic. Students who did not 
miss any questions will be provided with more 
challenging work or reinforcement exercises tar- 
geted to their needs. 

These regular class assessments are comple- 
mented by assessments required by SRT 2 every 
■nine weeks, which ensure that students are pro- 
gressing and which 
identify those who are 
falling behind so that 
they can receive ad- 
ditional support. 



Waller says that when he 
became principal "I gave 
the data to everybody.,., 
and they used it for 
instructional purposes.... 
Even the kids know 
their data." Here Waller 
and Casey Foundation 
education consultant 
Elizabeth Kelly discuss 
data on test scores that 
is posted in the school's 
hallway. 




35 



"Ms. Hunley has been there, done that. She provides quality advice to our administrative 
leaders and they convey the ideas to us in a way that works for our school/ 

— Damany Lewis 



.............. 



. ..4 ...... ...............I.. 



"The rubbeT bits the road in the class- 
room every day," says Kweku Forstall, Project 
GRAD Atlanta's executive director. "Teachers 
need ongoing support and coaching to be- 
come very proficient in delivering their areas 
of instruction. . . . Experienced* teachets who 
arc good should be helping iess proficient 
teachers through mentoring and visiting 
classrooms and sharing best practices. " 

Project GRAD also does data collection 
and evaluation. Data collection includes 
quarterly assessments in reading and math 
and semi-annual class visits to evaluate class- 
room management. Data are also collected to 
track discipline referrals, parent involvement 
and student attendance and to measure the 
change in public perceptions of school safety 
and organization, 

"Data increases your awareness." says 
Waller. "You can't know where you are going 
if you don't know where you are." 

Recognizing that non-academic issues 
can serve as barriers to student achievement, 
Project GRAD partners with Communities 
In Schools (CIS) to provide services to 
address those issues, CIS support helps 
increase student attendance and parent 
involvement and includes one-on-one and 
small group counseling with at-risk students, 
as well as access to dental, hearing and vision 
exams. 

"GRAD is not an overnight results 
program," explains Forstall. "It's about 
incremental progress in trying to close the 
achievement gap." 



Training and support from the 
Georgia Department of Education 

In an effort to support "Needs Improve- 
siTient" schools, the Education Department's 
LState School Improvement Division began 
to provide expert consultation to struggling 
schools in 2004, The state assigned Dr. 
Cheryl Hunley to serve in Parks and six other 
area schools. She was trained by the state and 
given a set of tools, instruments and resources 
to support school improvement in the tar- 
geted schools. 

She came on board at Parks during the 
summer of 2004, immediately following the 
removal of the former principal. She worked 
closely with both the interim principal 
and Principal Waller to identify areas for 
potential improvement. She has also pro- 
vided training to the staff, making sure they 
understood the state standards and how the 
curriculum prepares the students Lo meet 
vthose standards. 

'We have had to go back and do pro- 
fessional learning on rigor, relevance and 
relationship," she explains. "If it is not impor- 
tant, we don't teach it.. .. A chiLd's project is 
no better than the assignment you give them. 
You cant give them busy work.. .. [The teach- 
ers] are focused on the standards." 

"Ms. Hunley has been there, done that," 
explains Damany Lewis, a seventh grade 
math teacher at Parks, "She provides quality 
advice to our administrative leaders and they 
convey the ideas to us in a way that works for 
our school." 



36 



"Many of the teachers talked about how well the students had done before. 
We had to have the conversation that, if they had done well before, 
I wouldn't be here because you would not be in restructuring..,." 

— Dr. Cheryl Hun ley 



•!••■•> ».•«'.•?«.* 



• ... I 



The professional development provided 
through Project GRAD, SKT 2 and Georgia 
DOE has paved the way for increasing the 
teachers' knowledge base and their "treasure 
chests" of strategies to improve learning. 

"There are more deliberate meetings 
around curriculum happening on a consistent 
basis/' reports Catalina Sibilsky, Principal 
in- Residence of Atlanta Public Schools and 
Project Manager of Atlanta's middle school 
transformation work "There are, more tools 
for consistent use of assessments. There are 
lots more conversations around curriculum 
instruction." 



Using Data To Drive Instruction 
and Develop Individual 
Learning Plans 

During Superintendent Hall's eight-year ten- 
ure at APS, the system has increased its use 
of data to drive instruction and track student 
progress. 

APS workshops emphasize the need to let 
the data drive instruction, and APS continues 
■to implement new technology to support 
teachers' and schools' efforts to use data to 
increase student achievement, 



To keep close track on how students are progressing, 
Parks Middle School students take frequent tests. 




37 



"It's not magic. You focus on the data to determine where to place resources. 
If the "reading level is down in one grade, you focus additional resources 
on. students and teachers at that level" 

— Kweku Forstall 



"It's not magic," explains Project GRAD's 
Forstall. "You focus on the data to determine 
where to place resources. If trie reading level 
is down in one grade, you focus additional 
resources on students and teachers at that 
level, You look at the data and you hold 
people accountable," 

As the 2005-2006 school year began, 
the teachers and administrators at Parks 
examined the data and planned accordingly. 
"[Waller] is a little more focused on the data 
and where they have to go with regards to 
AYP [Adequate Yearly Progress] in order to 
be successful," explains SRT 2's Pitts. "His 
acceleration in using the data and the data 
'dashboards' probably allowed him to move 
faster than others," 

Data were already being used to guide 
instruction and planning at Parks, but 
Waller changed the way that it was used and 
integrated it more deeply into the planning, 
decision-making and instruction. Before 
he joined the staff, awareness of the data 
was limited and those who were aware of it 
tended to use it for quotation purposes rather 
than planning purposes. 

"When I came, I gave the data to every- 
body," Waller explains. "Everybody knew the 
data.., and they used it for instruction pur- 
poses.... Even the kids know their data. They 
can tell you their individual scores and what 
their goal is," 

"You have to let the data drive the 
instruction," says Sandra Ward, the school's 
reading facilitator. "Not just from bench- 



marks and standardised tests. Data needs to 
drive day-by-day teaching. In each lesson you 
need to assess the students to make sure they 
have mastered it." 



The limited awareness and understanding 
of the data was eviden ced in Hunley's 
coaching of some of the faculty. "Many 
of the teachers talked about how well the • 
students had done before [Mr. Waller was 
hired]," Hunlcy remembers. "We had to have 
the conversation that, if they had done well 
.before, I wouldn't be here because you would 
not be in restructuring.... They perceived that 
the years before were so much better. They 
did not understand that the data did not 
substantiate what they were saying." 

She began to realize that their evalua- 
tion of the school's performance was based 
not on student achievement, but on how 
comfortable they were in their job. "There 
was a culture, a comfort zone, that was good 
for them," she adds. "One of the things Mr. 
Waller had to do was break up that comfort 
zone because that was not good for the kids. 
They equated doing well with doing what 
they wanted to do." 

Superintendent Hall agrees about the 
importance of insisting on accountability. 
; "People have a hard time pointing out non- 
performance. They like the people and know 
their personal situations, so they will make 
excuses for them because they are too nice 
and unable to deal with low performance. 
A good leader goes in, takes time to assess, 
but knows that the core business is to make 




38 



'You have to let the data drive the instruction. Not just from benchmarks and standardized tests. 
Data needs to drive day-by-day teaching. In each lesson you need to assess 
the students to make sure they have mastered it." 

— Sandra Ward 



sure students succeed. You have to have 
courage. " 

Hunley helped Parks' teachers to look 
at the data and to understand what was 
required to meet Adequate "Yearly Progress 
and why they were not achieving it. "We had 
some very intelligent teachers who just didn't 
understand the process," she explains, 

"Once we got the numbers right, we 
could put names with the numbers. . . . We 
were able to pull the data by teachers so we 
knew who was being effective and who was 
not. When we identified the effective teach- 
ers, we could look more closely at what they 
were doing." 

The data is not only used to guide school 
and class planning, it is also used to develop 
plans for each student. Beginning during 
the 2006-2007 school year, teachers and 
faculty at Parks break the data down for 
each student, creating prescriptive Individual 
Learning Plans. 

"Its just like when you go to the doctor," 
explains Waller. "When we give them tndivid~ 
ual instruction based upon their chart, we are 
able to work on their individual deficiencies." 

Each student has an academic chart 
displaying their .strengths and weaknesses so 
that their teachers and tutors can provide 
targeted instruction. Traditionally these types 
of prescriptive learning plans are used only 
for students in special education classes, but 
at Parks they are used for all students. 



Setting High Expectations 
and Cultivating Support 

When Waller became piincipal at Parks, he 
was determined to turn around a long-time 
failing school by eliminating the achievement 
gap between Parks students and those at 
other Atlanta schools. Several faculty and 
staff members were wary and distrustful 
when Waller came on boardj and he had to 
work hard to enlist their support for his new 
efforts. 

The community was also uneasy. 
'We didn't know how long he would be 
there/' explains Pittsburgh Community 
Improvement Association Executive Director 
LaShawn Hoffman. "I heard that a lot from 
the community at the beginning of his 
tenure. We had a new principal who had 
never been a principal before. We thought 
they were hiring him because APS didn't 
care. You better believe that we heard a lot of 
that." 

Waller stressed the school's sttengths 
and helped it to address its weaknesses. 
"Our comfort zone was snatched up when 
Mr. Waller was brought in, but he handled 
that well," remembers Lewis, "He didn't 
come in saying 'You are Needs Improvement; 
what you have been doing hasn't been 
working so you have to do it my way, ' 
He said, You have been improving 
consistently over the past few years, so let's 
keep doing what you were doing, but let's 
improve it.'" 



39 



n 




"People have a hard time pointing out non-performance. They like the people and know their 
personal situations, so they will make excuses for them because they are too nice and unable to 
deal with low performance. You have to have courage," 

—Dr. Beverly L Hall 



A new way to build 

a team within the school 

One strategy that Waller used to enlist the 
support of school staff was to arrange for a 
professional development retreat in Destin, 
Florida, during his first summer as principal 
There he was able to bond with his new 
team. 



- •-•.■■•••■•••■■•■.■.■.,,.......,,,.,..,..,,.,,,4,..,,,, 



"The culture was such that they were 
stonewalling him,'' remembers Hunley, "He 
decided, ..to take thera to Florida, for some 
team building. There are places they could 
have gone in town, but this was a way to 
really get them out of their normal frame of 
reference.... It was a Wonderful trip! I could 
see when they were lighting up and connect- 
ing with him." 




Principal Waller brought Parks' staff members to a retreat in Florida to help build a sense of team. Pictured 
in this photo (from the left) are Sonya Thompson, Gregory Reid, Sandra Ward, Christopher Waller, Nechelle 
Stiarpe, Daymon Arnold and Dr. Alfred Kiel. 




40 



"The culture was such that they were stonewalling him. He decided.. .to take them to Florida for 
some team building. There are piacesthey could have gone In town, but this was a way to really 
get them out of their normal frame of reference,... It was a wonderful trip!" 

— Dr. Cheryl Hun ley 



•■ . • . ... .-. i .- ... 



During the retreat, WalleT introduced 
some new teaching strategies, including "Dif- 
ferentiating Instruction" and "Inclusion and 
Collaboration." Differentiating Instruction 
recognizes that individual students have dif- 
ferent abilities and learn in different ways,- It 
creates multiple paths so that all students ex- 
perience equally appropriate ways to absorb, 
use, develop and present concepts as a part 
of the daily learning process, 

Inclusion and Collaboration brings stu- 
dents with special learning and behavior needs 
into the general education program full-time 
with additional support staff in the classroom. 
It also provides teachers the comprehensive 
professional development to help them de- 
velop collaborative skills so that all students 
can succeed in this new environment. 

"We didn't have teachers protesting 
because we didn't talk about that at school. 
We talked about it in Destin — on the beach/' 
explains Waller with a grin. "It is hard to kick 
an idea when you are on the beach. I think 
we might have received a different reaction 
if we had introduced it in the school's media 
center." 

Another strategy he used to gain the sup- 
port of school staff was to Increase discipline, 
"Once I became principal, I knew the very 
first thing I had to do was get the climate 
back under control/' explains Waller. "Teach- 
ers love you when you are getting control of 
the kids so that was the first thing We did.... 
You have to have a climate that is conducive 
to learning," 



Setting a Clear Vision 

At the 2005 ceremony to honor the eighth 
graders who were being promoted to high 
school, Waller outlined his vision of success 
for Parks, He told students, parents and fac- 
ility members, "If it can be done in Buckhead 
[a wealthy Atlanta neighborhood], it can be 
done right here in Pittsburgh," remembers 
Waller. 

"Oh, they shouted and they clapped. That 
was the most amazing statement they had 
ever heard, that their children could succeed 
just like the children on the other, richer side 
of town." 

Waller and his staff repeatedly stressed the 
simple vision of ehminating the achievement 
gap. "We didn't get into the 'la-La -la (comma) 
la-la-la (comma) la-la-la of educational jar- 
gon/" he explains. "We kept it very simple. 
We said, 'If it can be done anywhere, it can 
be done right here at Parks, Academically, we 
will eliminate the achievement gap.'" 

To achieve that simple vision, Waller 
immediately set higher expectations for 
the students, teachers, administrators 
and community partners at Parks. "Waller 
has informed the kids that they are not 
a hopeless cause," explains Hoffman of 
the Pittsburgh Community Improvement 
Association. "He sets high standards 
and demands accountability. From my 
perspective, he holds the children and adults 
in the school — including the teachers and 
paraprofessionais — accountable." 



41 



"Once I became principal, I knew the very first thing i had to do was get the climate back 
under control. Teachers love you when you are getting control of the kids. 
You have to have a climate that is conducive to learning." 

—Christopher Waller 



But high expectations by themselves 
"don't mean much without buy in," Waller 
says. "The students had to buy in, the 
parents had to buy in and the community 
had to buy in. That helped to implement the 
strategies that would make tlie expectations 
attainable . " 

Parents and community residents became 
more involved in the student success effort 
when the school began opening its doors to 
them and providing an array of services and 
programs. "We involved parents," explains 
Lewis. 'We have a GED course here. ... We 
have Saturday Schools. Last year, we had a 
program where parents could come to take a 
six-week computer class and get a free com- 
puter when they finished . , . , When you start 
bringing the community into it, the students 
respond." 



"When people and the students see us, 
they tend to see us just as we are today," 
shares Waller. "They don't know what you 
had to go through to get where you are. I 
realized that I couldn't be ashamed to show 
my children where 1 had been, I told them 
where they are today is not where they will 
be tomorrow. I told them, T have been where 
you are and now, look at where I am.' You 
talk about it, You model to them. You show 
them that they can get to where they want to 
go." 

Superintendent Hall agrees with Waller's 
high expectations for the students at Parks. 
"When I can stand in front of my principals 
and read the list of highest-performing 
schools in the district, a list that runs the 
gamut from schools in the highest income 
areas to schools in the lowest income areas, 
there are no excuses," says Hall. 




aller and others constantly high- 
lighted the various small and large 
achievements the school made at 
every chance they got. Waller reports carrying 
an ever-changing note card in his pocket with 
him wherever he went. Whenever he got the 
chance— at faculty meetings, at community 
meetings, when he was speaking with stu- 
dents in the hall — he would pull the card out 
and announce the achievements. 

To show the students that, despite their 
families' current economic conditions, they 
could achieve their dreams, Waller made sure 
that students knew that he had once walked 
in their shoes. 



"While I believe the impact of extreme 
poverty should not be ignored, I know that 
we have to address the quality of teaching . 
and learning, since that is the most important 
variable in this equation." 

Parks staff, administrators and partners 
knew that the students were on board when 
they witnessed their reaction to a math 
benchmark test in the spring of 2006. The 
benchmark test showed that they were far 
from prepared for the CRCT ("Criterion 
Referenced Competency Test") math test. At 
the urging of Hunley (the retired principal 
brought in as a consultant by the state 
education department), Waller called an im- 
promptu "community meeting" of the eighth 
graders in the school hallway. 




42 



"We involved parents. We have a GED course here. 
We have Saturday schools, a six-week computer class for parents. 
When you start bringing the community into it, the students respond." 

— Damany Lewis 



. . ...» . • ........ 



Waller "preached" to them, lighting a 
competitive fire under them and explaining 
that the staff would do everything they could 
to help the students pass the test. Hunley 
remembers Waller saying, "A lot of folks out- 
side of this school say you carVt do ^because 
of where you live, but I know you can do it! I 
know you are smart. I see you every day and 
I look at you. I know you can do this." 

At that community meeting, the staff and 
faculty pledged to do whatever was necessary 
to help the students learn, A voluntary math 
tutorial class quickly filled to capacity with 
students sitting on the floor to attend. Weeks 
later, 40% of those students met the state 
standards in math while an additional 46% 
exceeded the standards. ' 



"All children can learn," says Ward, Parks' 
reading facilitator. "This is what we have 
been telling our children over and over again. 
As Long as you focus, develop a goal and a' 
dream, you can accomplish it." 



C 



elebration is another critical factor 
involved in getting the cooperation 
and buy-in of students and faculty 
members. The school celebrates at every op- 
portunity, demonstrating to the students that, 
if they work hard, good things will happen. 
Wrth the support of partners, including the 
Salvation Army, Communities In Schools 
(CIS) and the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 
the school threw parties to celebrate high 
attendance rates and academic success. If a 




Attendance 
at Parks has 
improved 
dramatically. 
Before, 
nearly 
20% of 
students 
missed at 
least 15 
days. Last 
year, only 
one student 
missed this 
many days 
(0.2%). 




43 



"AN children can learn. This is what we have been telling our children over and over again. 
As long as you focus, develop a goal and a dream, you can accomplish it." 



»n • • 



........ ii, ...... .......... »vi ................. 



student came to school every day in a month, 
their name went into a drawing and they 
could win television sets, game systems or 
bicycles. 

"With. CIS and the NBA*(Never JBeen 
Absent) Program, we have lots of incentives 
in place to motivate them to come and to 
succeed," explains Assistant Principal Reid. 
'Just being in Parks everyday you never know 
what might happen to you .... That gets and fl 
holds your attention." 

Efforts to encourage student attendance 
have had a significant effect. Whereas 19.2% 
of students missed at least 15 school days 
during the 2003-2004 school year, that num- 
ber was nearly cut in half the following year 
(down to 9.9%). Attendance has continued to 
improve dramatically with only 2.5% missing 
at least 15 days in 2005-2006 and only one 
student (.2%) reaching that threshold during 
the last school year. 

Lewis believes that one reason for the 
drop in absenteeism is the increased rigor of 
the class work. Students are given make-up 
assignments that become increasingly dif- 
ficult to do when they miss multiple days 
of school. "If you miss a day you can get 
behind; u" you miss Lwo or three days, you are 
lost," explains Lewis. "They come back saying 
that they don't get it. I say, That's good. 1 If 
you can miss a day and still get it, I'm not 
doing my job. 1 " 



—Sandra Ward 

.».. ...................................... 

Building Strategic Partnerships 
and Broad Support 

When Waller was hired at Parks, the school 
had almost no corporate or community 
partners and only three parents came to 
meet him at an introductory meeting 
organized by the school's Parent-Teacher 
Association. 

^ t? The ^Pittsburgh Community Improvement 
■- 'Association (PCIA) had been in partnership 
with the school, but that partnership had 
struggled as staff changes at the school and 
in the organization forced them to repeatedly 
build new relationships. PCIA had helped 
the school recruit two business partners, 
Jones Day Law Firm and Carey Limousines, 
located near Parks in the Pittsburgh neigh- 
borhood. Those businesses had become 
frustrated because of the changes at the 
school and a lack of structure to the partner- 
ships. 

"There was a consistent effort on the part 
of PCIA," remembers PCIAs Hoffman, 
"but the leadership changed sq much at 
Parks that theie was not an opportunity to 
establish a formal structure..,. People didn't 
•think their efforts would achieve anything 
and it was easier to not do anything than to 
keep trying." - 

Recognizing a need to recruit additional 
partners, Waller began to attend meetings of 
the neighborhood's Ministers' Alliance. There 
he met several strategic partners, including 
PCIAs Hoffman and Major Gloria Reagan of 




44 



"We didn't know how long he would be there. I heard that a lot from the community at the 
beginning of his tenure. We had a new principal who had never been a principal before. 
We thought they were hiring hira because APS didn't care." 

— LaShawn Hoffman 



the Salvation Army College of Officer Train- 
ing, located in the Pittsburgh neighborhood. 

His efforts became more successful when 
the Casey Foundation's Atlanta Civic Site 
team contacted APS and Partes in an v effort 
to establish a partnership. This occurred after 
The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation 
made an initial commitment to support the 
redesign of Irxe New Schools at Carver, the 
high school into which Parks feeds. To date, 
The Blank Foundation has committed $4.5 
million to fund student support programs for 
students at The New Schools at Carver as a 
part of a larger redesign effort. 



Leaders at The Blank Foundation pre- 
vailed upon Casey to work with Parks to 
ensure that its students were prepared for the 
rigor of The New Schools. 

"[The Blank Foundation] said they felt 1 
that The New Schools at Carver would be 
more successful if the whole pipeline — the 
whole feeder system — was successful," ex- 
plains the Casey Foundation's Atlanta Civic 
Site Manager, Gail Hayes, 'They identified 
that Parks was a very low performing school. 
They saw high achieving elementary schools 
and a failing middle school feeding into The 
New Schools at Carver, and they knew that 
student achievement at Parks would have to 




Pittsburgh 
Community 
Improvement 
Association's 
LaShawn Hoffman 
I says that before 
f Christopher Waller 
I became Parks' 
I principal, the 
I leadership had 
| changed so often 
that "people didn't 
think their efforts 
would achieve 
anything." 




45 



"I did a Sot of reading and listening wFien I first began this work. What I determined— and this is 
not rocket science— is that the school needed to increase parent involvement and attract more 
corporate partners. They needed other supports to really increase student achievement," 

—Elizabeth Kelly 



........ 1.4. 41. .(1HIHI ■..•.».!. ■ ■ ■ I ■ ■■«•>■ 

increase in order for their investment to be 
successful." 

The partnership began with a meeting in 
the summer of 2005 between Hayes, Princi- 
pal Waller, SRT 2 Executive fiirecton Pitts, 
Project GRAD Executive Director Forstall, 
Casey Senior Associate for Education Bruno 
Manno and Casey Consultant Elizabeth 
Kelly, In that meeting, Hayes challenged 
Waller and his team to set the ambitious goal 
of achieving Adequate Yearly Progress in the 
next school year, a goal that Waller and Pitts 
readily accepted. 

Kelly began her work to support Parks by 
meeting with Waller and other school staff 
and partners and researching what programs 
were in place at the school and what oppor- 
tunities existed for targeted supports, 

"I did a lot of reading and listening when 
I first began this work/' explains Kelry. 'What 
I determined — and this is not rocket sci- 
ence—is that the school needed to increase 
parent involvement and attract more cor- 
porate partners. They felt that they were on 
track to meet AYP that year, but they needed 
other supports to really increase student 
achievement." ' 



After Casey began partnering with Parks, 
Waller's efforts to recruit partners 
became much easier. "I want to make 
it clear that Casey brought other partners to 
the table..'.. I can focus on the instruction 
and implementation of the curriculum with 
integrity,... Prior to Casey Parks wasn't 



llll|ll(l,Ml.lll>l,l.tf««< 



■ ■ • ■-»•-• ■■ 



invited to the table. Now, when people talk 
about NPU-V, they are talking about Paries 
in some component," (NPU-V is the "neigh- 
borhood planning unit" that includes Parks 
Middle School.) 

Parks' partners now include After School 
AH Stars, Communities In Schools, Digital 
Connectors-One Economy, Georgia State 
University, Hands On Atlanta, Mendez 
Foundation, the Ministers' Alliance, Music 
'Matters, Pittsburgh Community Improve- 
'ment Association, Salvation Army College 
of Officer Training, United Way, Casey 
Foundation and community associations. 
While some of these partners jobied Parks 
as a part of Project GRAD, the diversity and 
scope of partners has greatly increased in 
recent years. 

These partners provide a wide variety 
of in-kind and financial support. Salvation 
Army supports the Never Been Absent 
Program, hosts GED and Literacy classes 
for adults during the evening at Parks, and 
provides food and materials when requested. 

United Way, Georgia State, Casey 
and After School All Stars support the new 
after-school program launched in October 
£006 to provide additional targeted assis- 
tance to students who are near the threshold 
of meeting standards. Hands On Atlanta 
provides tutoring to students in need of ad- 
ditional one-on-one support and has provided 
computers to students. 

The Casey Foundation sponsored a 
staff celebration at Dave and Busters and 




46 




"I want to make it clear that Casey brought other partners to the table.... 
can focus on the instruction and implementation of the curriculum with integrity.... 
Prior to Casey, Parks wasn't invited to the table." 

—Christopher Waller 



........ .> J,...,!!.!... .4 ...... ..»...........>. r ,.,,,|«.i«....« 



purchased matching maroon blazers for 
faculty and staff to honor their first year of 
AYP success. The foundation also purchased 
planner notebooks for all students and sup- 
ported professional development and training 
opportunities for school staff. 

Communities In Schools, which is a 
component of the Project GRAD reform 
model, provides wrap-around services in the 
schools to help students address factors that 
could interfere with their academic achieve- 
ment, including counseling, small group work 
with at-risk students, and in-kind resources 
such as dental check ups and eye exams. 
They also reach out to parents and caregivers 
to make them feel more comfortable in the 
school, helping to organize a Massage for 
Moms night and a Dinner with Dad night, 

Superintendent Hall believes that part- 
nerships and supports for students are a 
critical component of achieving success in 
low-income schools. "The impact of extreme 
poverty should not be ignored," Hall explains, 
"The supports play a big role, That is why 
Project GRAD has Communities in Schools. 
That is why Hands On Atlanta provides 
tutors and why Casey provides supports to 
mitigate against other issues,,.. Most of the 
schools that are doing well with poor children 
are schools that have strong partnerships. 
Those are real contributing factors." 

"When you have support," Waller believes, 
"you don't feel like you are in it by yourself. 
So many times, Parks felt like it had been in 
it by itself." * 



! Integrating what is taught 
in elementary, middle 
and high schools 



The Casey Foundation's support has also 
helped initiate "Vertical Alignment" efforts 
to link the curricula between the elementary, 
middle and high schools, "After talking to the 
principals at Parks, Gideons and The New 
^Schools at Carver, I was struck by the fact - 
§:hat there was no bridge between the three . 
stages/ 1 remembers Kelly. "There was a dis- 
connect between the elementary and middle 
school curricula and no preparation in middle 
school for high school." 

With funding support from Casey and 
senior leaders from APS, the Vertical Align- 
ment steering committee began meeting in 
December 2005. The goal of the group was 
to develop a rigorous middle school curricu- 
lum at Parks that aligns with the academies 
of The New Schools at Carver and better 
prepares students upon graduation to be suc- 
cessful in high school. 

Work groups — aligned with the four 
academies at The New Schools at Carver and' 
comprised of staff from Carver, Parks, Proj- 
ect GRAD, SRT 2 and APS— met regularly in 
2006, collecting data on current conditions 
and identifying high-performing teachers, 
training needs and achievement gaps (be- 
tween Parks students and The New Schools' 
requirements). 

Funding from the Georgia Department of 
Human Resources enabled Parks to launch a 
Summer Youth Program in 2006 to prepare 
incoming sixth graders for the transition to 




47 




"The impact of extreme poverty should not be ignored. The supports play a big role. 
Most of the schools that are doing well with poor children are schools 
that have strong partnerships.'' 

— Or. Beverly L. Hall 



IIIMOllMl* I 



middle school while simultaneously strength- 
ening students' skills and knowledge, Because 
of the success of the summer pro gram s DHR 
agreed to continue the funding year-round, 
enabling Parks to launch its After School 
All Stars Program in the fall of 2006 and to 
continue the summer program in 2007. 

The Vertical Alignment work at Parks 
will continue as the model expands to other 
APS middle schools. "It has become a way 
of working for Parks and that work will con- 
tinue," explains Hall. "Now we are beginning 
to model other schools' efforts around the 
Parks initiative." 



■■>■ ........ ■ i .iiiimi ■ 

Improving the School's Physical 
and Social Environment 

Principal Waller understood that many of 
the students attending Parks Middle School 
might not have a warm home environment 
where the adults in their lives provided love, 
support and structure. To ensure that Parks 
could provide them with a safe and nurturing 
environment during the school hours, Waller 
started to address the physical and social 
environment as soon as he came on staff. 

He asked APS to paint the walls and put 
the school colors and mascot, Mustangs, 




One of 
Principal 
Waller's first 
steps was to 
improve the 
look of Parks 
Middle School 
This included 
a mural at 
the school's 
entrance that 
highlighted 
the school's 
colors (red 
and yellow) 
and mascot, 
a mustang. 
"We wanted 
the school to 
have a warm 
feeling." 




48 



"It was really that bad when I first came here. Now the students won't even litter. Now it is 
offensive to them,... Lately, if someone talks out of turn, I will pause, and the students will 
chastise them.,,. They are regulating themselves. 17 

— Damany Lewis 



on the wall of the front entrance 
lobby. He encouraged teachers 
to post exampLes of good student 
work on bulletin boards in the 
hallways. He purchased pictures, 
park benches and greenery and 
placed them throughout the school 
building. 

,r We wanted the school to have 
a warm feeling when you walk in," 
explains Waller, "Regardless of 
what cold situation you might have 
come from, you are here and there 
is a warm feeling here." 



In addition to improving the 
physical environment, Waller 
quickly tried to get the social environment 
under control by increasing discipline. This 
included the way the students carried them- 
selves in the school. The faculty instituted 
"Operation Pull and Tuck," requiring all stu- 
dents to have their shirts tucked in and their 
pants around their waist. 

"Discipline had been an issue here, but ... 
they don't walk the halls anymore," explains 
Hunley. "They put their shirt tails in their 
pants. "While doing that seems minor, it really 
changes the way they carry " 




Damany Lewis, who began teaching 
at Parks in the 1999-2000 school year, 
remembers the challenges that a lack of 
discipline caused early in his career at Parks. 
He remembers students urinating in trashcans 
before tossing them into a classroom and 
running away He remembers how there was 



no toilet paper in the bathrooms because the 
students would wet it and throw it onto the 
■ ceiling. 

"It was really that bad when I first came 
here," he explains. "Now the students won't 
even litter. Now it is offensive to them. ... 
Lately, if someone talks out of turn, I will 
pause, and the students will chastise them. .. 
They are regulating themselves."- 

"The school environment and how stu- 
dents feel about themselves is important," 
explains Kweku Forstall. "If they see other 
students rurming rampant in the schools 
with no boundaries, limits and respect for 
the teachers, they will take it less seriously. . 
When you beautify the school and enhance 
the environment, it supports a positive 
attitude and diminishes distractions to aca- 
demics." 



49 




'The school environment and how students feel about themselves is important. 
If they see other students running rampant in the schools with no boundaries, 
limits and respect for the teachers, they will take it less seriously." 



-Kweku Forstall 







■ " • ■'■>••■•' • 'Mlll.-fUl ■■■■■Atlill < |l>|t<ltV>|>l 



Moving Forward 

Having been successful in achieving Adequate 
Yearly Progress for two straight years, Parks 
Middle School is no longer defined as a Needs 
Improvement school under No Child JLeft 
Behind. Instead, it is defined as a School of 
Choice, meaning that patents with children 
enrolled at struggling schools in the district 
can elect to send their children to Parks. 

This success has led to increased student 
morale, self-confidence and teacher owner- 
ship and commitment, as well as a strong 
sense of pride across the community. Parks 
has become a model reform school for the 
state and for partner agencies. 



The school's success did, however, bring 
some negative financial consequences. Be- 
cause it is no longer a Needs Improvement 
school, Parks will lose a significant amount of 
resources, including: 

• $124,000 from its supplemental budget 

• $450,000 in supplemental educational 
services 

• $100,000 in Title I funds 

• $75,000 in state consultant/professional 
development support 

• Additional materials, supplies and 
technology 




Project GRAD 
Executive 
Director Kweku 
Forstall (left) and 
School Reform 
Team-2 Executive 
Director Michael 
Pitts have both 
played Key roles 
in supporting 
Parks' young 
principal. 



50 




We are clearly improving. But we stilf have 3 long way to go. We are attacking those 
[challenges] with great vigor and intentionality with system-wide initiatives. 
The key lesson here is that it takes a long time to turn around a school system." 



-Dr. Beverly L. Hail 



. • 



Continuing to increase student success 
while losing these important resources will be 
a challenge, but Parks' leadership and staff 
believe they are prepared. Waller continues 
to set ambitious goals for the. school and its 
students, Not satisfied with merely achieving 
AYP and APS system targets, Waller is chal- 
lenging his faculty and students to help the 
school become a "90-90-90" school, meaning 
that more than 90% of students meet or ex- 
ceed standards in Reading, English/Language 
Arts and Mathematics. 

"Now that we have achieved AYP for two . 
years in a row," explains Waller, "AYP is no 
longer a lofty goal. In order to keep our orga- 
nization moving forward, we have to continue 
to increase our targets." 

They will be supported in their efforts by 
an array of new programs and partners that 
will continue to support student learning 
id the future. The Parent-Teacher-Student 
Association has been expanded and revived. 
New educational partners are working with 
Parks to ensure that students have the 
supports and opportunities they need. The 
Family Literacy Program is providing parents 
and other area adults with GED and literacy 
classes, which demonstrate to students the 
importance of staying focused and staying in 
school. 

The efforts at Parks will also be supported 
by district-wide reform efforts as Hall arid 
her team work to transform middle and high 
schools and to improve student achievement 
and learning in math and science. 



"There is still work to be done," explains 
Hall. "We are clearly improving. But we 
still have a long way to go in the areas of 
math and science grades K-12 and in high 
schools overall. But we are attacking those 
with great vigor and intentionality with 
system-wide initiatives. The key lesson here 
is that it takes a long time to turn around a 
school system." 



"If it can be done any w here r it can b.e done 
right here at Parks," said Principal Waller, 
shown with a Parks student. 





51 



" ■F'tr;, -t---,- - . : ' --:V-r- - T.si 




'When I can stand in front of my principals and read the list of highest-performing schools in the 
district, a list that runs the gamut from schools In the highest income areas to 
schools in the lowest income areas, there are no excuses/ 



-4)r. Beverly L Hall 



I *. 1. 1 , , m 1 1 i ■ .1 « 1 1 V t t # a • , » • v hi 



... i ...... . 



"■ "i-.l.li. 



"*""" ' ••iiiiiiiiiii.in... 



The Diarist Project 



This is one of a series 
about the Annie E. Casey Foundation's 
work in low-income neighborhoods put 
together by The Diarist Project. The project is 
a new approach the foundation is using to 
learn from its efforts to strengthen 
families and transform struggling 
neighborhoods. 



Diarists work to capture 
strategies and insights 
of the people who are 
leading the neighborhood 
transformation work, 

This story was written by 
Sarah Torian, the Atlanta Civic 
Site diarist, It was edited by 
Tim Saasta, diarist coordinator. 
Photos ©2007 by Stanley 
Leary Published in December 
2007. 



The Annie E. Casey Foundation works to 
build better futures for disadvantaged 
children and their families in the United States, 
Its primary mission is to foster public policies, 
human service reforms and community 
supports that more effectively meet the needs 
of today's vulnerable children and families, 

Atlanta is one of three Casey Foundation 
civic sites, which are cities where the 
foundation has "home-town" ties. Atlanta is the 
headquarters of TJPS, The Casey Foundation, 
was started by the founder of UPS, Jim Casey, 
and his siblings. (The other two Civic Sites are 
Baltimore, MD, and New Haven, CN.) 



The Atlanta Civic Site focuses on five 
j jpf Atlanta's oldest neighborhoods, all 
| located just south of downtown. These 
j neighborhoods — Adair Park, Mechanicsville, 

Peoplestowm Pittsburgh and 
a&iW. ... Summerhill/Capitol Homes — 
comprise a once-thriving 
African-American community 
that has experienced a 
great deal of property 
disinvestment, population 
decrease and general 
economic decline over the 
past 30 years. 

• 

To help strengthen 
families in these 
neighborhoods, the 
foundation has been promoting 
neighborhood-scale programs, 
policies and activities that 
Contribute to strong, family-supporting 
neighborhoods, These efforts focus .on education 
achievement, family economic success and 
neighborhood transformation, 

For more information, contact: The Atlanta 
Civic Site, 477 Windsor Street, SW, Atlanta, GA 
30312; wvw. dtlunt&civicsitc. org; 404-222-3660, 




A Parks Middle School Student 



■ The pianst Project contacClim , $ 

Tm^phaat* Choice coin . ti& 
- . - , . - rOv 

'V.- I llflW fft-ni 1 Klli^-I f 1 r \ l-ir-. r-. »ri'"nir*, I ,. I. I. „ -A. ; . '. . 





52 



VENETIAN HILLS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1910 Venetian Drive, SW Principal: Chirietla Davis SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotman 

Allantsu Georgia 303 1 1 Testing Coordinator: Milagros Moiier 

I. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Venetian Hills Elementary in 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 
2008, and 2009. Five teachers and the testing coordinator at Venetian Hills confessed to erasing 
answers. Cheating at Venetian Hills is evidenced by the high number of flagged classrooms, 
confessions, witness testimony, and Principal Clarietta Davis 5 refusal to answer our questions 
about cheating. 



n. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Magged for W 1 R Erasures 


75.4 


1-5 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


52 


1 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


10(18) 


m 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from Slate Norm 


12.8 


3 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


24.5 


3 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.8 


3 



53 



m. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 



A. Narrative 

The following teachers altered test documents at Venetian Hills Elementary School: 
Jacquelyn Parks, Melba Smith, Alma Keen, Angela Bennett, Tyrone Hankerson, Hardy Scott, 
and Milagros Moner. A group of teachers got together in Testing Coordinator Milagros Moner's 
office in the afternoons. The teachers met in that office, locked the door, and erased wrong 
answers, filling in right answers. Principal Davis had the teachers raise Level 1 (not meeting 
expectations) students up to Level 2 (meeting expectations) and raise Level 2 students up to 
Level 3 (exceeding expectations). Some teachers changed the tests in the morning when Moner 
handed them out, while others changed the answer sheets in their classroom after the test. The 
trusted "chosen ones" changed the tests in the afternoon. 

Principal Davis altered answer sheets as well. She only erased in the presence of 
Milagros Moner. Principal Davis erased answer sheets in her office wearing gloves so that she 
did not leave fingerprints on the test documents. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Jacquelyn Parks (Teacher) 

Jacquelyn Parks taught third grade at Venetian Hills and confessed to cheating in 2004, 
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009. Testing Coordinator Milagros Moner had a special group of 
people — "the chosen ones." These teachers were either part of the leadership team or were 
"veteran" Venetian Hills teachers. Moner did not ask new teachers to cheat. 

The group got together in Moner's office each afternoon during the testing period. The 
"chosen ones" were Melba Smith, Alma Keen, Angela Bennett, Tyrone Hankerson, Hardy Scott, 
Jaquelyn Parks, and Milagros Moner. They met in the windowless office and locked the door. 
They took the test themselves and changed the answer sheets when the student's answer was 
wrong. They would change the tests of only the grade they taught, but not just their own 
students. Some teachers changed the tests each morning in their classrooms. The "chosen ones" 
would change the tests in the afternoons and during the makeup testing days. Parks believes that 
the teachers that were not directly involved knew what was going on. There were other teachers 
changing test answers in their own classrooms. 

Moner told the teachers that Principal Davis's instructions were to pull Level 1 students 
up to Level 2 and pull Level 2 students up to Level 3. When one of the group remarked, "Why 
isn't Ms. Davis in here helping us?" Moner responded, "She does help, she puts on her gloves." 

One of teacher Nichole Jones' fifth grade students noticed that the answers on his test 
from the day before were not as he indicated. He thought his answers had been changed and told 
Ms. Jones. Jones later asked Hankerson, "What is going on around here?" 

Parks first cheated in 2004 but believes cheating was going on at Venetian Hills prior to 
that. She heard cheating has been going on since Dr. Hall became the Superintendent. The 



54 



culture at APS is that if you are not a "team player," there are ways that APS can get back at you. 
Parks was afraid of retaliation if she did not go along with cheating. "APS is run like the mob." 

2. Tyrone Hankerson (Teacher) 

Tyrone Hankerson taught fourth grade and admitted to his involvement with cheating in 
2009, ILS Milagros Moner told Hankerson that they needed to "clean up" the tests. He knew 
that "clean up the tests" meant to change answers from wrong to right on the CRCT. Hankerson 
told Moner he was not interested and Moner responded that Principal Davis wanted him to cheat. 
Moner kept asking and eventually Hankerson said that he might help. He went to Moner' s office 
and Jacquelyn Parks, Karen Batiste, Milagros Moner, and Alma Keen were there with the tests. 
He saw them change answers but says he did not assist. 

Other teachers at the school knew what was going on. Leslie Badger called him once and 
said that she knew they were changing CRCT answers in Moner' s office. 

3. Milagros Moner (Testing Coordinator) 

Milagros Moner was the Instructional Liaison Specialist in 2009 and was considered the 
"Assistant Principal" by many teachers and staff at the school. She was also the testing 
coordinator in 2009 and says she cheated in 2008 and 2009. 

In 2008, during the week of testing, Principal Davis asked Moner to "check the tests to 
see how the students [are] doing." Moner looked at some of the tests and told Davis that the 
students were not doing well. Davis told her to get others to help her "look over the tests." She 
also directed Moner to bring some tests to her office. Moner recruited others over the course of a 
day. She asked Alma Keen, Tyrone Hankerson, Hardy Scott, Jacquelyn Parks, and Melba Smith 
because those teachers had been at Venetian Hills long enough to understand the culture of "do 
not tell." Dr. Angela Bennett was in the room but Moner does not recall if Bennett erased 
answers. Moner put tests in tote bags and took them to Principal Davis' office. Davis was 
concerned about leaving fingerprints so she put on gloves to erase answers. Moner helped 
Principal Davis change answers in her office. Just the two of them were present. 

Principal Davis pressured the teachers to get CRCT scores up. She constantly threatened 
teachers with PDPs for low test scores. Everybody knows that being on a PDP means their jobs 
are in jeopardy. Principal Davis was a tyrant and the culture at Venetian Hills was basically 
"rule by fear." Moner said, "Teachers are afraid of losing their jobs and teachers compel 
themselves to do whatever they need to do to make sure that they do not lose their jobs because 
their students don't meet or don't exceed on the CRCT. Everybody was in fear. It is not that the 
teachers are bad people and want to do it, it is that they are scared." 

SRT Executive Director Dr. Davis-Williams liked Principal Davis because she won lots 
of awards and made Dr. Davis-Williams look good. Furthermore, Dr. Davis- Williams had a 
style similar to Principal Davis. Neither were approachable. Teachers did not feel they could 
complain about their principal to Dr. Davis-Williams. 



55 



4. Melba Smith (Teacher) 



Melba Smith taught fourth grade in 2009 and admitted to changing answers on tests in 
2008 and 2009. In 2008, Milagros Moner asked Smith if she could stay after school and "look 
over the tests." She suspected that Moner was asking her to stay after school to change answers 
and thought someone at Venetian Hills was cheating. She noticed over the years that some 
students could not read at their grade level but received high CRCT scores. 

Principal Davis told Moner to change the tests. Smith changed answers each afternoon 
with Tyrone Hankerson, Alma Keen, Jacquelyn Parks, and Angela Bennett. Moner stayed in her 
office and helped the others. Hardy Scott was changing the tests, but alone in his classroom. 
Teachers Karen Batiste and Wendy Howard gave their students their answers while 
administering the test in their classrooms. 

Smith told students to review a question when she saw they had marked an incorrect 
answer. Smith cheated because if the teachers did not have good test scores, the principal 
"would ride [their] back until [they] left." 

5. Hardy Scott (Teacher) 

Hardy Scott admitted to cheating in 2009 and in several years prior. At the end of the 
testing day he would get his tests from Moner and would take them back to his classroom, shut 
the door, and change the answers. 

6. Dr. Angela Bennett (Teacher) 

Angela Bennett confessed to being in the room with the tests and pretending to change 
answers in 2009. Moner directed her to help change answers. Bennett believed she had to agree 
to change answers. She did not want to do it, so she sat in the room and pretended to erase 
answers. She said that Principal Davis knew what they were doing. Hankerson, Keen, Moner, 
and Parks were also in Moner's office changing answers. 

The teachers used answer keys to change the answers. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicat ed 

/, Dr. Clarietta Davis (Principal) 

Principal Davis refused to answer our questions, by asserting her Fifth Amendment right 
not to incriminate herself. A list of the questions she refused to answer is included as 
Attachment A. 

We monitored a conversation between a school official and Principal Davis. In this 
conversation Davis is told that the Governor's investigator knew what happened at Venetian 
Hills. Davis did not deny that she cheated; instead, she acted surprised that anyone knew what 
happened. Principal Davis said that they were talking about too much and concluded the 
conversation. 



56 



In a meeting, one of the "chosen ones" told Davis that the Governor's investigator 
"knows everything" She specifically mentioned that Hardy Scott took tests home: "I don't 
know how he [Governor's investigator] knew that . . . It's like he [Governor's investigator] was 
in the room." Davis did not question the teacher's statement; instead, she asked, "What did the 
employees [at Venetian Hills] say?" 

When the school official told Principal Davis that the investigators appeared to be "more 
interested in principals than in teachers," Davis responded, "That must be why they're waiting to 
interview me last." The official told Principal Davis, "I am thinking about telling him what 
happened in that room because I am scared." Davis asked, "So you gonna call the others' 
[teachers involved in changing answers] names?" 

The official continued to talk about how scared he/she was of criminal prosecution when 
Principal Davis said, "I still think this is all gonna come back to me." The official said to 
Principal Davis that the Governor's investigator talked to the interim principal Mrs. Robinson 
several times. Davis responded, "Mrs. Robinson doesn't know anything." 

2. Karen Batiste (Teacher) 

Karen Batiste denied cheating but said that she knew it was going on. 

Batiste heard that there was a recording of Melba Smith giving her students the questions 
on the fifth grade writing test. Smith told her students they were questions that would appear on 
the test the next week. 

Principal Davis told the teachers that they were not allowed to give children a failing 
grade. Batiste said Davis is the "meanest person you've ever met." It is not fun being a teacher 
because it is all about the test. "Everything is about the test." "I am glad [Governor Perdue 5 s] 

not letting go though I'm glad he's not letting go, because if [cheating] doesn't stop now it's 

going to continue." "The school system, T don't think they want to get to the bottom of this," 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Principal Clarietta Davis cheated, and directed others to cheat, on the 
CRCT from 2004 to 2009. Six teachers admitted that they altered test documents, or were in the 
room when others were altering test documents, and that Davis directly, or indirectly, ordered 
them to cheat. Davis erased answers, wearing gloves, in her office. We have listened to 
monitored conversations with Principal Davis. She does not deny her involvement. Finally, 
Principal Davis refused to answer our questions, asserting her Fifth Amendment right not to 
incriminate herself. 

Milagros Moner, the testing coordinator, cheated on the CRCT at the direction of 
Principal Davis. She recruited trusted and veteran teachers to assist. Jacquelyn Parks, Tyrone 
Hankerson, Melba Smith, Hardy Scott, Alma Keen, and Angela Bennett cheated on the 2009 
CRCT, and in other years. They changed tests for the entire school. Most teachers were aware 
of the cheating. 



57 



We further conclude that Principal Davis failed in her ultimate responsibility for testing 
activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for, the 2004, 2005, 
2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 CRCT. It is our conclusion, from the statistical data and the other 
evidence secured in this investigation, that Principal Davis failed to properly monitor the 2009 
CRCT and adequately supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is 
responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2004, 
2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



CLARTETTA DAVIS 

You have information concerning cheating at your school on the 2009 CRCT test, don't 
you? 

You are refusing to provide these investigators with that information, aren't you? 

By cheating on the 2009 CRCT, you denied struggling students the help they needed to 
succeed? 

You directed school employees to cheat on the 2009 CRCT, didn't you? 

You coordinated cheating on the 2009 CRCT at your school, didn't you? 

You facilitated the ability of school employees to cheat on the 2009 CRCT test, right? 

You knew that school employees were cheating on the 2009 CRCT, didn't you? 

You provided school employees with access to the student's CRCT tests so that these 
school employees could cheat? 

You knew that teachers were providing student's with answers to the 2009 CRCT, didn't 
you? 

You changed student's answers on the 2009 CRCT test, didn't you? 

You did not report violations of testing protocol as you were required to do by Georgia 
law, did you? 

In 2009, you were entrusted with ensuring that school employees act ethically? 
Cheating is unethical isn't it? 

You instructed your teachers to cheat on the 2009 CRCT didn't you? 

You pressured your teachers to cheat on the 2009 CRCT didn't you? 

You accepted bonus money from APS based on test scores you knew to be false? 

Your school accepted federal money based in part on test scores you knew to be false? 

By cheating on the CRCT you denied the State of Georgia an accurate assessment of your 
student's academic performance? 

By cheating on the CRCT you denied the parents of your students an accurate assessment 
of their children's academic performance, didn't you? 

By cheating on the CRCT, you denied the children in your care an accurate assessment of 
their own academic performance. 



59 



GIDEONS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 

897 Welch Street Principal: Armstead Salters SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 10 Testing Coordinator: Sheridan Rogers 

I, INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Gideons Elementary in 2009 and in other years. Sixty 
people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Twelve people confessed to 
cheating. Cheating at Gideons is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, 
confessions, and witness testimony, Principal Armstead Salters confessed to knowing of 
cheating at Gideons. Testing Coordinator Sheridan Rogers confessed to cheating. Both 
Principal Salters and Testing Coordinator Rogers instructed witnesses to obstruct our 
investigation by directing them not to tell the truth in interviews. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 





, nnn 

illUv 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


88.4 


25.0 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


61 


18 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


21(21) 


11(5) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


15.2 


4.9 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


53.2 


8.3 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.4 


3.0 



HI. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Narrative 

Since 2001, Principal Salters, Testing Coordinator Sheridan Rogers, and numerous 
teachers participated in a coordinated, school-wide cheating scheme. Principal Salters instructed 
certain teachers to see Rogers to change students' CRCT answer sheets. Rogers provided 
teachers with the students' CRCT answer sheets, the test booklets and answer key transparencies 
so the students' answers could be changed. Rogers instructed teachers to prepare answer keys on 
transparencies for the different versions of the CRCT. Teachers prepared the answer keys by 
talcing the tests themselves and marking correct answers on transparency sheets. Teachers 
returned the completed answer keys to Rogers who distributed the answer keys and the students' 
CRCT answer sheets to other teachers. Teachers also prompted their students to change answers 
during the administration of the test. 

Veteran teachers understood that changing students' CRCT answer sheets was expected 
at Gideons. They changed the answer sheets of the students taught by newer teachers until the 
new teacher was trusted to be brought into the cheating scheme. When they decided a new 
teacher was ready, veteran teachers instructed them to "go see Ms. Rogers and check your tests." 



60 



Not all teachers, veteran or new, participated in the cheating, but the scheme was an open secret 
at Gideons Elementary. 

One group of teachers took their students' answer sheets to the home of a teacher and 
held a "changing party" over the weekend in Douglas County, Georgia. Other teachers changed 
their students' answer sheets after hours at school during the testing window. 

Principal Salters obstructed this investigation when he instructed teachers not to 
cooperate. He said to them, "If anyone asks you anything about this just tell them you don't 
know. You did not. Stick with it." Principal Salters also told teachers to "just stick to the story 
and it will all go away." Sheridan Rogers told at least one teacher to not say anything to 
investigators about CRCT cheating. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Oliver Banks (Teacher) 

Oliver Banks admitted to changing answers on the 2008 and 2009 CRCT. 

Principal Salters instructed Banks and other teachers to change answers on the 2008 and 
2009 CRCT. Banks erased and changed answers in 2008 at Gideons with Bernadine Macon, 
Daisey Bowser, and Veronica Jordan. He also erased and changed answers on the 2009 CRCT at 
Bernadine Macon's home in Douglas County, Georgia over a weekend along with Macon, 
Bowser, Jordan, and Michael Walker. 

Principal Salters saw Bowser, Jordan, Macon, and Banks erasing and changing answers 
at Gideons. Principal Salters asked Banks, "How is everything going?" He was referring to 
erasing and changing answers. 

Principal Salters told Banks, Jordan, Macon, and Bowser, "If anyone asks you anything 
about this just tell them you don't know. You did not. Stick with it." He also said, "just stick to 
the story and it will all go away." Banks told Salters that he could not lie to the GBI Salters 
replied, "They don't know anything about this. They are searchin'. Stick to the fact that y'all 
did not make any changes." 

2. Daisey Bowser (Teacher) 

Daisey Bowser admitted to changing answers on the 2009 CRCT. Sheridan Rogers gave 
Bowser CRCT test booklets, students' answer sheets and transparency answer keys. Using the 
materials provided by Rogers, Bowser erased and changed 2009 CRCT answer sheets at 
Macon' s house with Jordan, Walker, and Banks. 

3. Veronica Jordan (Teacher) 

Veronica Jordan admitted to changing answers on the 2008 and 2009 CRCT. 

Jordan testified that Principal Salters instructed teachers to report to Rogers to "check 
their tests," which was code for erasing answers. When teachers reported to Rogers, she gave 



61 



teachers CRCT answer sheets and answer keys to change the answers. Rogers instructed Jordan 
to prepare an "answer key" to one version of the CRCT by marking the correct answers on a 
blank transparency. 

Jordan erased and changed CRCT answers in Rogers' office in full view of Rogers. She 
also admitted to changing CRCT answers at Macon's house along with Macon, Banks, and 
Walker. 

Jordan testified that fourth grade teachers at Gideons also changed answers but could not 
provide details. Sheridan Rogers instructed Jordan not to say anything to investigators about 
CRCT cheating. 

4. Bernadine Macon (Teacher) 

Bernadine Macon admitted to changing CRCT answers at her home in Douglas County, 
Georgia and at the school. 

Walker, Bowser, Banks, and Jordan all went to Macon's home over a weekend and 
changed CRCT answers using answer sheet transparencies provided by Rogers. Macon also 
testified that Principal Salters called during this investigation to tell her to "hang in there" and 
that she would be "ok because she didn't do anything." 

5. Michael Walker (Paraprofessional) 

Michael Walker admitted to erasing and changing CRCT answers in 2009. Walker 
admitted to driving Banks to Macon's house to change CRCT answers with Jordan, Macon, and 
Bowser. 

6. Treme Ha Donaldson (Teacher) 

Tremelia Donaldson admitted to cheating on the 2009 CRCT. Principal Salters told her, 
"Do what you need to do. The kids have to pass" Donaldson also testified that teachers at 
Gideons have erased and changed answers since 2001. She learned of the cheating conspiracy 
when Denethia Weddington-Ward told Donaldson "go see Rogers to check your tests." This was 
code for erasing and changing answers. When she "went to see" Rogers, Rogers gave her CRCT 
test booklets, students' answer sheets, and nineteen transparency answer keys, one for each test 
form. The transparencies consisted of clear sheets of plastic normally used for overhead 
projectors, with the correct answers to the 2009 CRCT written on them in marker. Donaldson 
used these materials provided by Rogers to erase and change students' answer sheets in her 
classroom at Gideons after school. 

7. Denethia Weddington-Ward (Teacher) 

Denethia Weddington-Ward admitted to erasing and changing students' answer sheets, 
both those of her students and those of other teachers. 

Weddington-Ward told LaTonya Washington to "go get her tests and answer sheets" 
from Rogers to erase and change answer sheets. She believes Washington did so. Rogers gave 



62 



Weddington-Ward both her own and other teachers' students' test booklets, answer sheets, and 
transparencies with the correct answers to use in erasing and changing answer sheets. 

We monitored a telephone call between Weddington-Ward and Rogers where Rogers 
admitted to giving answer sheets to teachers, but denied knowing what the teachers did with 
them. When asked about the current location of the answer sheet transparencies and whether she 
destroyed them, Rogers said she "got rid of them," and that she "could legitimize them as 
teaching aides." 

8. Cheryl Hunt (Teacher) 

Cheryl Hunt admitted to erasing and changing answers in Rogers' office and in her own 
classroom in 2009, and in other years. Rogers gave Hunt test booklets and students 3 answer 
sheets, as well as transparencies with answers to the CRCT. Hunt stated that Donaldson, 
Weddington-Ward, Washington and Neely changed CRCT answers. 

9. Irene Ellerbe (Teacher) 

Irene Ellerbe admitted to prompting students to change their answers during the CRCT. 
Irene Ellerbe asked students "are you sure this is what you want to put down?" multiple times. 
In response to her prompting, students erased their answers and changed them to the correct 
answer. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Sheridan Rogers (Testing Coordinator) 

Rogers admitted to giving test booklets and answer sheets to teachers after Principal 
Salters instructed her to do so. She denied any knowledge of answer key transparencies but 
stated that blank transparencies were used as teaching aides. Multiple teachers testified that they 
received answer keys from Rogers, 

On February 22, 2011, we monitored a phone call between Rogers and Denethia 
Weddington-Ward. During this call, Weddington-Ward brought up the transparencies by asking 
Rogers what she did with them and informing Rogers that investigators were aware of the 
transparencies. Rogers responded by saying that she got rid of the transparencies and that she 
could "[legitimize those as teaching aides." 

2. Cam file Neely (1'eacher) 

Camille Neely stated that Rogers gave her answer sheet transparencies, but she did not 
use them because her students did well on the CRCT in 2009. All of Neely' s classes were 
flagged with standard deviations from the state- wide norms being 9.6 for reading, 5.7 for 
language arts and 3.4 for math. She was unable to explain why her students would have been so 
far above the state-wide norms for wrong-to-right erasures. 



63 



3. Armstead Sailers (Principal) 



Principal Salters admitted to knowing that Rogers and teachers at Gideons cheated on the 
CRCT. He did nothing to stop it. He denied directing Sheridan Rogers, or any teacher, to cheat. 
He also denied instructing his teachers not to cooperate with this investigation. Salters 
acknowledged that Gideons was his school and that he was responsible for the cheating that went 
on there. He denied his involvement in cheating, except to the extent he knew it was occurring. 

Principal Salters testified that he never told SRT-2 Executive Director Michael Pitts or 
Dr. Beverly Hall that teachers at Gideons cheated. Principal Salters testified that although he 
met with Dr. Hall after the Blue Ribbon Commission Report was issued, Hall never asked him if 
teachers at Gideons cheated. 

Principal Salters met with Pitts in December of 2008 to tell him that he intended to retire. 
SRT-3 Executive Director Pitts told him that "a scandal was brewing," and requested he put off 
his retirement until after the scandal. Principal Salters agreed. 

4. LaTonya Washington (Teacher) 

LaTonya Washington testified that she received answer sheets and transparencies from 
Sheridan Rogers, but did not use them to erase students' answers. She stated that her students 
did well on the 2009 CRCT and she did not need to cheat. None of Washington's classes were 
flagged by GOSA for abnormally high wrong-to-right erasures. 

D. Testimony of Additional Witnesses 

I. Dr. Beverly Hall (Superintendent) 

When Dr. Hall met with Principal Salters after the Blue Ribbon Commission Report she 
asked him if cheating occurred at Gideons, and he replied "I don't know," instead of denying 
cheating occurred. When we interviewed Dr. Hall, she said that she did not believe teachers in 
APS cheated, but that she "sure would like to know what happened at Gideons." 

TV. ANALYSTS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude a school-wide conspiracy to erase and change students CRCT answer sheets 
occurred at Gideons in 2008, 2009, and other years. We conclude that Principal Salters and 
Sheridan Rogers orchestrated this school-wide effort to erase and change students' answer sheets 
and ordered teachers to lie to the GBI. We conclude that Irene Ellerbe cheated on the 2009 
CRCT test. We conclude that third grade teachers Tremelia Donaldson, Cheryl Hunt, Camille 
Neely, and Denethia Weddington-Ward erased and changed students' CRCT answer sheets at the 
school in 2008 and 2009. We further conclude that fifth grade teachers Oliver Banks, Daisey 
Bowser, Bernadine Macon, Veronica Jordan and Michael Walker erased and changed students' 
CRCT answer sheets at the school in 2008, and at Macon's house in Douglas County in 2009. 



64 



Based on the statistical evidence and the evidence we have found at schools with similar 
statistical data, we believe that the teachers in other grade levels also cheated, but we lack 
sufficient evidence to determine which additional teachers cheated. 

It is also our conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence that Principal 
Armstead Salters failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately supervise testing 
and test security. This resulted in, and he is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or 
erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



65 



KENNEDY MIDDLE SCHOOL 

225 Griffin SL NW Principal: Dr. Lucious Brown SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams 

Atlanta, GA 30314-3917 Testing Coordinator: Tanya Green 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Kennedy Middle in 2009. Fifty people were 
interviewed at this school, some more than once. One person confessed to cheating on the 2009 
CRCT. Cheating at Kennedy is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, a confession 
and witness testimony. Principal Brown answered all questions asked of him during his first 
interview, but then refused to answer our questions in his second interview by asserting his Fifth 
Amendment rights. Principal Brown failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 



EL STATISTICAL DATA 

A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 




Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


53.2 


6 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


42 


5 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


22(13) 


4(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


7.8 


3.6 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


25.8 


3.9 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


3 



66 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 
Test 


Standard 
Deviation 


BROWN 


6 RD 


5.089088174 


BROWN 


6 MA 


5.117179761 


CHAMPION 


6 RD 


15.04780325 


CHAMPION 


6 LA 


5.546467781 


CHAMPION 


6 MA 


8.753403409 


CURRAN 


6 RD 


7.324830923 


JEFFERSON 


6 RD 


15.32740273 


JEFFERSON 


6 LA 


4.929384429 


JOHNSON 


6 RD 


L0.1809325 


JOHNSON 


6 LA 


6.309160842 


JOHNSON 


6 MA 


7.421849417 


MCEACHERN 


6 RD 


9.344362535 


MCEACIIERN 


6 LA 


8.097544447 


MCEACHERN 


6 MA 


5.277854699 


P JACKSON 


6 RD 


11.240114 


P JACKSON 


6 LA 


6.094625784 


P JACKSON 


6 MA 


8.104675596 


WILLIS 


6 RD 


7,793203967 


WILLIS 


6 MA 


3.071301497 


ALEXANDER 


7RD 


4.89332047 


ALEXANDER 


7 LA 


3.806064018 


ALEXANDER 


7 MA 


19.64457009 


EDWARDS 


7 MA 


25.76111746 


KIEL 


7 MA 


5.31374061 


MACK 


7RD 


10 07194437 


MACK 


7 LA 


11.40441189 


MACK 


7 MA 


12.40487778 


PARKER 


7 LA 


3.676303193 


PARKER 


7 MA 


/..} oufry l /o 


CRAWFORD 


8 MA 


3 .5 05275347 


DAVIS 


8 MA 


3.53922506 


EASTERLING 


8 RD 


9.535627614 


EASTERUNG 


8 MA 


7.788329721 


ELLIS 


8 MA 


7,774976862 


EVANS 


8 RD 


3 231092674 


EVANS 


8 MA 


4.527173489 


LANDRUM 


8 MA 


7.400048393 


LOVETT 


8 MA 


4.386037999 


RAGLAND 


8 MA 


4.582951024 


VINCENT 


8 RD 


4.805024492 


VINCENT 


8 LA 


3.819640899 


VINCENT 


8 MA 


6 880745321 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Kennedy Middle School was 
not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 53.2% for the 2009 CRCT. With state 
monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped significantly from 
53.2% to 6%. 



67 



Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only four schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Kennedy Middle School. 

Third, of the 42 flagged classrooms at Kennedy 29 (69% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and nine classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of wrong -to-right erasures occurred without 
adult intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Kennedy Middle School. 

Fourth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures, 85.1% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 53.2% of total 
classrooms in the school. 

Fifth, Principal Lucious Brown directed and participated in an organized scheme to erase 
and change students' test answer documents. When he was subpoenaed by us, he refused to 
answer questions about his knowledge of, or participation in, cheating and asserted his Fifth 
Amendment rights. 

Finally, Principal Brown intimidated witnesses in this investigation by requiring the 
teachers and staff at Kennedy Middle School to meet with his personal criminal defense attorney 
at school, during school hours. 

B. Narrative 

In 2009, Principal Lucious Brown, School Improvement Specialist Dr. Tameka Goodson, 
Secretary Carol Dennis, and Barbara McDaniel participated in a coordinated cheating scheme. 
These women moved from West Fulton with Principal Brown when he became Principal at 
Kennedy in 2007. Brown directed these individuals to check the students' tests and "make them 
right" so that the school could meet targets. Although no evidence exists that Principal Brown 
personally erased answers, he was present when Dennis, Goodson and McDaniel carried out his 
directive, Moreover, one witness observed Principal Brown carrying tests from the vault to the 
conference room after the test period ended for the day. After testing ended, Principal Brown, 
Dennis, Goodson and Barbara McDaniel carried the tests from the "vault" into the conference 
room or Principal Brown's office and changed student answers on the test. Only Principal 
Brown and his secretary, Carol Dennis, had keys to the vault where the tests were stored. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Barbara McDaniel (Teacher) 

Following the first or second day of the administration of the CRCT in 2009, Carol 
Dennis, Principal Brown's secretary, summoned Barbara McDaniel and Dr. Tameka Goodson to 
the conference room where Dr. Brown and Ms. Dennis were located. Dennis asked McDaniel 
and Goodson to stay until 4:00 or 5:00 and help change CRCT answer sheets. Dennis explained 
that a certain percentage of the tests needed to be "checked" and made right. McDaniel told 
them she would have to think about it because she knew what they were doing was wrong. 



68 



McDaniel described Principal Brown as "like a son to her " She wanted to talk with her 
husband about what she was asked to do, but knew he would tell her not to cheat. She wanted to 
help Principal Brown. She did not ask her husband. 

On the third or fourth day of testing, after the students left school, Dennis, Goodson and 
McDaniel stayed at school until approximately 11:00 p.m. to finish changing answers. Principal 
Brown was in the room while the others changed answers. McDaniel was ashamed of what they 
had done. 

2. Michelle Haves (Teacher) 

Michelle Hayes stated that she had no direct knowledge of cheating. However, she noted 
that students who could not read would often meet or exceed expectations on the reading portion 
of the CRCT. Hayes confronted Principal Brown about this discrepancy in June 2009, but he did 
not give her any explanation. In the fall of 2009, Principal Brown suddenly transferred Hayes to 
Brown Middle School. 

3. Tiffany Edwards (Teacher) 

Tiffany Edwards heard there was cheating at Kennedy and that Principal Brown and his 
friends were involved. Teachers talked about the unrealistic jump in math scores. Edwards 
heard students talking about teachers giving answers. She does not recall the students' names. 
Some teachers complained that their answer sheets were returned to them in a different order 
than the teacher left them the day before. 

4. Michelle Bowman (Teacher) 

Principal Brown ordered teachers to meet with his personal criminal defense attorney in 
his office at the school during school hours. 

5. Francesca Favors (O ffice Clerk) 

Francesca Favors stated that during the 2009 CRCT, Tanya Green, the Testing 
Coordinator, returned tests to the vault and locked the door. However, Favors observed Dennis, 
Principal Brown, Dr. Goodson and Morris going in and out of the vault during the day. Only 
Principal Brown and Dennis kept a key to the locked room. 

6. Tanya Green (Testing Coordinator) 

Tanya Green denied cheating. She did not have a key to the vault where tests were 
stored. Only Principal Brown and Dennis kept that key. 

7. Matthew Hall (Teacher) 

Matthew Hall reported that during test week, Principal Brown ordered everyone to leave 
the school by 4; 00 p.m. and cancelled after-school activities. 



69 



8, Mar so Morris (Attendance Clerk) 



Margo Morris stated that during the 2009 CRCT, Dennis pulled her into her office and 
asked Morris to sharpen the pencils. At that time, Morris saw Principal Brown, Barbara 
McDaniel, Dr. Goodson and Dennis in the conference room. Morris heard Ms. Favors say "y'all 
think I'm stupid. I know y'all are back there with those tests." 

9. Rosalin Triplett (Teacher) 

During the 2009 CRCT, Tripletfs students raised their hands and reported that their 
answers from the previous day had been changed. She reported this to Tanya Green who told 
Principal Brown. Finley, another teacher, told Triplett that everything in her test containers was 
in disarray when she got it back. Triplett witnessed a confrontation between Principal Brown 
and teacher Michelle Hayes. Hayes asked Principal Brown how some of her students could have 
passed the CRCT. Principal Brown said "I'm not going to talk about it." Triplett believes 
Principal Brown subsequently fired Hayes. Triplett reported that while the GBI was at the 
school, Margo Morris was moved from the front office and into a hallway. Triplett overheard a 
group of students say that their teacher, Willis, helped them on the test. 

10. Robin Banks (Teacher) 

During the 2008 CRCT, Ms. Robin Banks went to pick up her tests from the testing 
coordinator one morning toward the middle of the test week. She noticed that one of her test 
answer booklets was missing, so she went to report it to Dr. Brown. When she got back to the 
room where the tests were stored, the book was sitting beside the box. Dr. Brown wanted her to 
believe it was just an oversight on her part. 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

/. Dr. Lucious Brown (Principal) 

When confronted with evidence of his involvement in changing answers, Principal 
Lucious Brown denied cheating. When he was subpoenaed for an additional interview, he 
refused to answer questions about his participation in, or knowledge of, cheating and asserted his 
Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. 

2. Carol Dennis (Secretary) 

Carol Dennis denied participating in, or having any knowledge of, cheating. 

3. Dr. Tameka Goodson (Instructional Coach) 

Dr, Tarneka Goodson denied any participation in or knowledge of cheating. The GBI 
confronted Ms. Goodson with evidence of her involvement in cheating and advised her that lying 
to a law enforcement agent was a felony, but if she told the truth she would be offered immunity. 
Goodson said she wanted to "make a statement," but wanted an attorney present. Goodson was 
given that opportunity, but failed to return with her attorney. The Special Investigators 
ultimately served Ms. Goodson with another subpoena. Despite her previous representation that 



70 



she would like to give a statement to the GBI, during her interview with the Special 
Investigators, with her attorney present, Ms. Goodson denied any involvement in or knowledge 
of cheating. 

E, Other Evidence 

• In 2006-2007, the State placed Kennedy Middle on a "Needs 
Improvement" list for repeated failure to meet AYP. 

• In 2007-2008, Principal Lucious Brown's first year at Kennedy, math 
scores jumped in every grade and Kennedy not only made AYP, but met 
83% of its targets. 

• In 2008-2009, the state removed Kennedy from the Needs Improvement 
list 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Principal Lucious Brown, Dr. Tameka Goodson, Carol Dennis and 
Barbara McDaniel conspired to erase and change student answer sheets on the 2009 CRCT. 

We further conclude that Principal Brown failed in his ultimate responsibility for testing 
activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for, the 2009 CRCT. 
It is our conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this investigation, 
that Principal Brown failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT and adequately supervise testing 
activities and test security. This resulted in, and he is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting 
or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



71 



FX. STANTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1625 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Principal: Dr. Mario Barber SRT-4 Executive Director: Taniara Cotman 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 14-2207 Testing Coordinator: Arthurline Taylor 

I. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at F.L. Stanton Elementary in 2009. Twenty-two people 
were interviewed at F.L. Stanton, some more than once. One teacher confessed to cheating. 
Cheating at F.L. Stanton is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, a confession, 
witness testimony, and Principal Mario Barber's refusal to answer questions about cheating. 
Principal Barber failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


201 n 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


83.3 


7.1 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


35 


3 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


13(12) 


3(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


12.1 


5.2 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


24.4 


7.4 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3 


3.4 



72 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


FOSTER 


1 RD 


6.286587288 


HILL 


1 RD 


7.500066144 


HILL 


1 LA 


10.44392629 


HILL 


1 MA 


8.66682616 


DURR 


2 RD 


5.41699529 


DURR 


2 LA 


5.552714374 


DURR 


2 MA 


4.387625289 


GOSHA 


2 LA 


3.047853543 


GOSHA 


2 MA 


7.146005432 


MOODY 


2 LA 


8.730602629 


MOODY 


2 MA 


6.292689078 


BULLOCK 


3RD 


5.986352294 


BULLOCK 


3 LA 


7.839884187 


BULLOCK 


3 MA 


9.484205905 


WAGNER 


3RD 


14 13076082 


WAGNER 


3 LA 


13.30066687 


WAGNER 


3 MA 


14.3635691 


WILSON 


3RD 


9,837047618 


WILSON 


3 LA 


9.282695136 


WILSON 


3 MA 


4.869839776 


CONLEY 


4RD 


20,87167223 


CONLEY 


4 LA 


16.54364876 


CONLEY 


4 MA 


14.10174659 


CURLEY 


4RD 


10.53598496 


CURLEY 


4 LA 


13.361446 


CURLEY 


4 MA 


13.00004071 


GAUSE 


4RD 


23.58719127 


GAUSE 


4 LA 


14,54204378 


GAUSE 


4 NLA 


18.98069243 


EDWARDS 


5 RD 


15.71063404 


EDWARDS 


5 LA 


11.36015746 


EDWARDS 


5 MA 


20.94304662 


MCRAE JONES 


5 RD 


20.73790807 


MCRAE JONES 


5 LA 


24.41721866 


MCRAE JONES 


5 MA 


20.77030433 



in. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that F.L. Stanton Elementary School 
was not managed in a way that ensured the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 83.3% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only three schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
no school had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than F.L. Stanton Elementary School. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
sharply, from 83.3% to 7.1%. 

Fourth, of the 35 flagged classrooms at F.L. Stanton Elementary School, 32 (91% of the 
total) had standard deviations that exceeded five, and 19 classrooms exceeded ten standard 
deviations. At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred 
without adult intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard 



73 



deviations the probability is no better than one in a trillion, This signifies that the deviations 
from the state mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad 
scale atF.L. Stanton Elementary School. 

Fifth, is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis, which compares 
the number of WTR erasures to the total erasures for each student by subject. Of the WTR 
erasures at FX. Stanton, 95.3% were produced by the flagged classrooms, which account for 
only 83.3% of the total classrooms in the school. 

B. Narrative 

In 2009, Principal Mario Barber and Theresa Bell remained at the school after hours and 
erased and changed student answers on the CRCT from wrong to right. Principal Barber and 
Bell had a very close relationship. Bell frequently acted as Principal Barber's representative in 
her absence. 

Three separate witnesses saw Principal Barber's and Bell's cars at the school after hours 
during test week and thought it was unusual. One of those teachers noticed that her test 
documents were not in the same order as they had been when she turned them in to the testing 
coordinator the previous day. 

Bell denied she was at school after hours, and produced documents showing she was not 
there on some days. Bell did not deny cheating, but instead stated that she was afraid of losing 
her teaching certificate. Principal Barber refused to answer questions and asserted her Fifth 
Amendment right not to incriminate herself. 

One teacher confessed that during the test she prompted a student using a non-verbal 
signal if she noticed the student had a wrong answer. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Christi Giddens {Teacher) 

Christi Giddens stated that she observed Theresa Bell staying late during test week and 
thought it was unusual. Giddens recalled that on one occasion during testing when she picked up 
her tests in the morning, they were in a different order than when she turned them in the day 
before. Giddens denied providing answers to students or erasing answers, but admitted that she 
would signal when she noticed a student had a wrong answer. 

2. Julian Daniels (Teacher) 

Julian Daniels observed Barber and Bell staying late after testing. Daniels thought this 
situation was highly unusual. 

3. Bonita Summons (Teacher) 

Bonita Summons observed Barber and Bell staying late after testing. Summons stated 
she thought this situation was highly unusual. 



74 



4. Dr. Arthur line Taylor (Testing (Coordin ator) 



Dr. Taylor stated that the tests were stored in a secondary room inside the principal's 
office. Prior to 2010, the secondary room did not have a lock on it. 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

/. Dr. Mario Barber (Principal) 

Principal Barber refused to answer our questions and asserted her Fifth Amendment 
rights in response to all questions posed to her, including questions as to whether she participated 
in, directed or knew about cheating on the CRCT at F.L. Stanton. She also refused to answer 
when asked about staying at the school with Theresa Bell after hours during testing week in 
2009, A copy of the questions Principal Barber refused to answer is attached hereto as 
Attachment A. 

2. Theresa Bell (Tesims Facilitator) 

Theresa Bell referred to herself as the "testing facilitator." She worked very closely with 
Principal Barber, attended meetings in her place and acted as her representative. Ms. Bell 
initially denied participating in, or having knowledge of, cheating. However, during a second 
interview at the school, the GBI confronted her with the allegation that witnesses saw her car and 
Dr. Barber's car at the school after hours during test week. Bell became visibly shaken. 

Bell did not deny cheating, but stated that she was "afraid of losing [her] teaching 
certificate." The GBI informed Bell that she should tell the truth about what happened during 
the 2008-2009 CRCT, and Bell again stated that she was "afraid of losing her certification." Ms. 
Bell was given a subpoena for a third interview. She retained an attorney and during the third 
interview produced ATM receipts and medical records indicating that she was not present at the 
school after hours on some days. 

E. Other Evi dence 

CRCT scores at F.L. Stanton declined in 2010 for first, third, fourth, and fifth grades. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Christi Giddens cheated on the 2009 CRCT by telling students when 
they had a wrong answer. We further conclude that Principal Mario Barber and Theresa Bell 
erased and changed student answer sheets after the tests were concluded each day and after 
school hours. 

Principal Mario Barber failed in her ultimate responsibility for testing activities and for 
ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for the 2009 CRCT. It is our 
conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this investigation, that 
Principal Barber failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT and adequately supervise testing 
activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, 
misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



75 



MARLO BARBER 

You have information concerning cheating at your school on the 2009 CRCT test, don't 
you? 

You are refusing to provide these investigators with that information, aren't you? 

You directed school employees to cheat on the 2009 CRCT, didn't you? 

You coordinated cheating on the 2009 CRCT at your school, didn't you? 

You facilitated the ability of school employees to cheat on the 2009 CRCT test, right? 

You knew that school employees were cheating on the 2009 CRCT, didn't you? 

You provided school employees with access to the student's CRCT tests so that these 
school employees could cheat? 

You knew that teachers were providing student's with answers to the 2009 CRCT, didn't 
you? 

You changed student's answers on the 2009 CRCT test, didn't you? 

In 2009, you were entrusted wilh ensuring that school employees act ethically? 

Cheating is unethical isn't it? 

You instructed your teachers to cheat on the 2009 CRCT didn't you? 

You pressured your teachers to cheat on the 2009 CRCT didn't you? 

You accepted bonus money from APS based on test scores you knew to be false? 

Your school accepted federal money based in part on test scores you knew to be false? 

By cheating on the CRCT you denied the State of Georgia an accurate assessment of your 
student's academic performance? 

By cheating CRCT you denied the parents of your students an accurate assessment of 
their children's academic performance? 

By cheating on the CRCT, you denied the children in your care an accurate assessment of 
their own academic performance. 



76 



2040 Brewer Blvd. 
Atlanta, GA 303 15 



PERKERSON j -F-MKNTARY SCHOOL 

SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis- Williams 



Principal: Dr. Mable Johnson 
Testing Coordinator: Tony Allen 



T. INVESTIGATIVE SITMMAftY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Perkerson Elementary in 2009. Forty-seven people 
were in£Sl at this school, some more than once. Cheating at Perkerson ® evidenced by a 
Shiimbi of flagged classrooms, witness testimony, and Principal Mable Johnson s refusal to 
^nSSSS cheating. Principal Johnson was voluntarily interviewed one time. 

t a second Le, Johnson invoked ^ » ™« 

question asked of her. Johnson failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRC 1 . 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 

A. 2009 vs. 2010 





20(19 


2010 1 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


66.7 


7 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


48 


4 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


21(17) 


2(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


10.6 


4.2 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


20.3 


5.2 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.7 


3.3 



77 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Ten elicit 




Stflncffird 




Test 


i si tion 


ALAMUTU 


1 RD 


O,^' UJ JUOJU- 1 


AI AMUTU 


1 LA 


6.574424292 


AT AMUTU 


1 MA 




LEWIS 


1 RD 




LEWIS 


1 I, A 


8 7111 fi"W?7 


LEWIS 


1 MA 


8 597S85S77 


MACK 


1 RD 


6432385614 


MACK 


1 LA 


5.00774642 


1 PUCKETT 


1 RD 


9733870686 


PUCKETT 


1 LA 


9.037050626 


PUCKETT 


1 MA 


11 5915851 


JEFFERSON 


2 RD 


14 18133963 


JEFFERSON 


2 LA 


9/183542231 


JEFFERSON 


2 MA 


12.43892961 


MATHIS 


2 RD 


1 1.06323561 


MATHIS 


2 LA 


9.9542727X7 


MATHIS 


2 MA 


5.195483394 


WAY 


2 RD 


12.28624396 


WAY 


2 LA 


6.964563335 


WAY 


2 MA 


10 41366695 


EDWARDS 


3 RD 


5.931015202 


HOLLOW AY 


3RD 


j 2, 297781 89 


HOLLOWAY 


3 MA 


4.176565426 


JEMISON 


3 RD 


9,028582779 


JEMISON 


3 LA 


6.26776781 5 


JEMISON 


3 MA 


6.798387298 


MUWAND1 


3 RD 


9.964211081 


MUWANDT 


3 LA 


7 926227511 


MUWAND1 


3 MA 


7.443704649 


SHORTER 


3 RD 


20.27421538 


SHORTER 


3 LA 


it", si 74 4 .rm 


SHORTER 


3 MA 


18.75781028 


BLAKE 


4 RD 


16 968*59877 


BUTLER 


4 FT) 


18 51 564(108 


TANNER 


4RD 


20.14382621 


WILLIAMS, D 


5 RD 


16.65595403 


WILLIAMS, D 


5 MA 


11 5139188S 


DAVIS 


5 RD 


1127913871 


DAVIS 


5 MA 


11.36464914 


DEAS 


5 RD 


10,35042432 


DEAS 


5 MA 


8.971351964 


WILLIAMS, P 


5 RD 


18.29664333 


WILLIAMS, P 


5 MA 


11.1196125 


THOMAS 


5 RD 


14.01911714 


THOMAS 


5 MA 


10 02938701 


TOOKES 


5 RD 


10,86346983 


TOOKES 


5 LA 


3.707339187 : 


TOOKES 


5 MA 


4.40641695 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Perkerson Elementary School 
was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



78 



First, the percentage of flagged classrooms was 66.7% for the 2009 CRCT, There were 
only ten schools in APS with a higher percentage that year. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only two had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Perkerson. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
from 66.7% to 7%. 

Fourth, of the 48 flagged classrooms at Perkerson, 45 (93.8% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five and 23 classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations, the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Perkerson. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Perkerson, 91% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
66.7% of the total classrooms in the school. 

Last, Principal Johnson condoned cheating at Perkerson. Dr. James Boyce told her about 
cheating at her school and she did nothing. SRT-1 Executive Director Sharon Davis-Williams 
also knew, and she instructed Dr. Boyce to cover up the cheating. Moreover, Principal Johnson 
refused to answer our questions about cheating, and invoked her Fifth Amendment right to 
remain silent in response to direct questions from us. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Dr. James Boyce (Education Specialist) 

Dr. Boyce worked for Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams at School Reform Team 1. He 
monitored testing at Perkerson during the 2009 CRCT. Dr. Boyce witnessed several teachers 
giving students the right answers during the testing period. He could not recall the names of any 
of the teachers other than LaShaine Blake. He was certain Blake was prompting her students. 
(Blake's fourth grade reading class was flagged with a standard deviation of 16.3.) Dr. Boyce 
told Principal Johnson about the prompting and she "blew him off." Dr. Boyce noted these 
discrepancies on testing forms, but said Davis-Williams instructed him to improperly change the 
forms. Dr. Boyce saw the testing coordinator, Tony Allen, by himself with the tests on multiple 
occasions. 

2. Patricia Williams (Teacher) 

Patricia Williams was a fifth grade teacher in 2009. Her reading and math classes were 
flagged with standard deviations of 18 and 11 respectively, She would collect the tests in a 
specific order at the end of the day. Williams stated that the tests would be in a different order 
when they came back to her the next morning. She says that Principal Johnson did not tell the 
teachers how the students scored in 2009, which she felt was highly unusual. Principal Johnson 



79 



directed the teachers to give investigators from the Blue Ribbon Commission reasons why the 
students did well on the tests. Johnson provided the teachers with explanations for the high 
scores, such as school instructional programs. Williams admitted that she erased stray marks. 
She was surprised that numerous "at risk" students passed the CRCT in 2009. 

3. Shaun Lewis (Teacher) 

Shaun Lewis was a first grade teacher for the 2009 CRCT. In 2009, the tests were kept in 
a conference room next to Principal Johnson' s office. At the first staff meeting of the 2008-2009 
school year, Johnson posted the prior year's CRCT scores for all teachers to see. This 
embarrassed some teachers based on their student's performance. Lewis said that first grade 
teachers were surprised that some of their students passed. Most first grade teachers thought 
answers were changed by either Johnson, Testing Coordinator Tony Allen or at the Brewer 
Center when the tests were returned. 

4. JocelvnMack ("Teacher) 

During the 2009 CRCT, Jocelyn Mack was a first grade teacher. Her reading and 
language arts classes were flagged for high wrong-to-right erasures with standard deviations of 
six and five. Principal Johnson asked Mack if she wanted her tests early. Mack received her 
tests by 7:00 a.m., when they normally were not distributed until 8:15 a.m. Mack also was told 
to erase stray marks, but was not comfortable doing so. Tony Allen erased stray marks for Mack 
and other teachers. 

Mack was surprised that two of her students passed the 2009 CRCT. One student sat 
under a table, then randomly filled in answers and still passed. There was a student Mack 
wanted to keep in first grade at the request of the student's parent. Johnson said the student had 
to be promoted to second grade because the student passed the CRCT. Several students passed 
first grade reading but are now struggling to read in the third grade. Everyone at the school was 
afraid of Johnson. 

5. Edia Andrews (Teacher) 

Edia Andrews was a second grade teacher during the 2009 CRCT. She said Tony Allen 
and Principal Johnson erased stray marks so the teachers did not have to. She heard that Johnson 
or Allen changed the students' answers. None of Andrews' classes were flagged for high wrong- 
to-right erasures. 

6. Olufunke Oyebanjo Alamuta (Teacher) 

Olufunke Oyebanjo Alamuta was a first grade teacher in 2009. All three of Alamuta's 
classes were flagged in reading, language arts and math with standard deviations of 8.3, 6.5 and 
9.1. Alamuta picked up his tests early each morning from Principal Johnson and Tony Allen and 
erased stray marks. He was surprised that children with disabilities received high scores. 



80 



7. Crystal Cleveland-Thomas (Teacher) 



Crystal Cleveland-Thomas was a fifth grade teacher during the 2009 CRCT. She had two 
subjects flagged in reading and math with standard deviations of fourteen and ten. She received 
her tests early each morning from Principal Johnson and Tony Allen. Cleveland-Thomas erased 
stray marks as she was instructed to do and was surprised when some students passed. 

8. Marcus Bishop (Paraprofessional) 

Marcus Bishop was a paraprofessional for kindergarten during the 2009 CRCT and did 
not participate in testing. He heard teachers talking about behavior problems during testing days 
but yet these students had abnormally high test scores. 

9. Alicia Booker-Pur adia (Parapro fessional) 

Alicia Booker-Duradia was a kindergarten paraprofessional during 2009 CRCT testing. 
She said Principal Johnson changed the testing procedures in 2009 by not requiring proctors in 
the testing room, instead using hall monitors. Booker-Duradia was surprised at the high test 
scores posted due to the amount behavioral problems. Previous principal Dr. Rowe was forced 
to resign because of low test scores. 

10. The following people testified that (hey generally had no knowledge of 
cheating but that there were one or more students in their class whose 
passing scores surprised them. 

Robin Holloway (third grade teacher); Dorcas Muwandi (third grade teacher); 
Keyaneshia Tanner (fourth grade teacher); Gloria McCullough- Wright (fifth grade teacher); and 
Carla Davis (fifth grade teacher). 

C, Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Mable Johnson (Principal) 

Principal Mable Johnson was interviewed the first time with her counsel present and she 
answered questions. The 2008-2009 school year was her first at Perkerson after transferring to 
Perkerson from Tull water Elementary School. Tullwater closed the previous year. She denied 
any knowledge of cheating on the CRCT test. Only Tony Allen and Johnson had access to the 
tests after they were collected from the teachers. She once saw Allen by himself in the room 
where the tests were stored. If answers were changed, it would have been done by Allen, 
although Johnson did not think he would change student's answers. She trusts Allen. Johnson 
had no explanation for the high number of erasures. 

During her second interview, Principal Johnson invoked her Fifth Amendment rights and 
refused to answer all the questions asked. A copy of the questions she refused to answer is 
included as Attachment A. 



81 



2. Tony Allen (Testing Coordinator) 



Tony Allen was the testing coordinator for Perkerson during the 2009 CRCT and was 
interviewed twice during the investigation. He answered all questions asked of him during both 
interviews. Only he and Johnson had access to the tests after they were collected from the 
teachers. He denied that he changed any student's answers, or that he had any knowledge of 
answers being changed. 

Allen erased stray marks. While he was packing the tests to be returned to the Brewer 
Center, he noticed a lot of erasures and smears on the tests. One girl sat under her desk, refusing 
to take the test, but nevertheless passed. If someone changed answers, it could not have been the 
teachers because they would not have had time. It would have to be Principal Johnson because 
he did not do it. Allen said there is no question in his mind that something happened, but he did 
not see anything. He "knew in his hearf ' that cheating occurred. 

3. Lashaine Blake 

During the 2009 CRCT testing, Blake was a fourth grade teacher. She testified that she 
had no knowledge of cheating. She attributed her high wrong-to-right erasures to testing 
strategies she taught the children. Blake also denied being close to Principal Johnson. During 
her second interview, Blake told investigators that she saw Lera Middlebrooks, a proctor, 
pointing to the questions and prompting students to change their answers during testing. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Principal Mable Johnson cheated on the 2009 CRCT. She did not offer 
any alternate explanation for the erasures and refused to answer our questions. Tony Allen 
assisted Principal Johnson in the altering of test documents. It is further our conclusion that 
LaShain Blake cheated on the 2009 CRCT. Principal Mable Johnson also failed to properly 
monitor the 2009 CRCT and adequately supervise testing activities and test security. This 
resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the 
results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



82 



MABLE JOHNSON 

You have information concerning cheating at your school on the 2009 CRCT test, don't 
you? 

You are refusing to provide these investigators with that information, aren't you? 

By cheating on the 2009 CRCT, you denied struggling students the help they needed to 
succeed? 

You directed school employees to cheat on the 2009 CRCT, didn't you? 

You coordinated cheating on the 2009 CRCT at your school, didn't, you? 

You facilitated the ability of school employees to cheat on the 2009 CRCT test, right? 

You knew that school employees were cheating on the 2009 CRCT, didn't you? 

You provided school employees with access to the student's CRCT tests so that these 
school employees could cheat? 

You changed student* s answers on the 2009 CRCT test, didn't you? 

You did not report violations of testing protocol as you were required to do by Georgia 
law, did you? 

In 2009, you were entrusted with ensuring that school employees act ethically? 
Cheating is unethical isn't it? 

You instructed your teachers to cheat on the 2009 CRCT didn't you? 

You pressured your teachers to cheat on the 2009 CRCT didn't you? 

You accepted bonus money from APS based on test scores you knew to be false? 

Your school accepted federal money based in part on test scores you knew to be false? 

By cheating on the CRCT you denied the State of Georgia an accurate assessment of your 
student's academic performance? 

By cheating CRCT you denied the parents of your students an accurate assessment of 
their children's academic performance? 

By cheating on the CRCT, you denied the children in your care an accurate assessment of 
their own academic performance. 

The State of Georgia entrusted you to educate the children in your care, Tight? 
The children of your school entrusted you to educate them? 



83 



By cheating on the CRCT, you violated the trust placed in you by the State of 
Georgia, the parents of your students and the children these parents placed your care? 



84 



CONNALLY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 

1654 S Alvarado SW Principal: Miini Robiason SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams 

Atlanta GA 303 1 L-2637 Testing Coordinator: Wanda M aore- Williams 

L TNVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

We conclude that cheating occurred on the CRCT at Connally Elementary in 2009. 
Forty -four people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. One teacher confessed 
to cheating. Cheating at Connally is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, a 
confession, witness testimony, and Principal Mimi Robinson's refusal to answer questions about 
cheating. Principal Robinson failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2(11(1 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


70.5 


9.9 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


55 


8 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


20(18) 


5(2) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


11.5 


4.9 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


27.6 


11.1 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3 


3.1 

- 



85 



Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


HARBOUR 


1 RD 


4,989645814 


HARBOUR 


1 LA 


5,948463026 


HARBOUR 


1 MA 


5.123165044 


HASSAN 


IMA 


10-29977713 


SANDERS 


1 LA 


4.795188887 


SANDERS 


I MA 


5.250436483 


BAILEY 


2 KD 


3.042883907 


BAILEY 


2 LA 


3.012080598 


BAILEY 


2 MA 


5.053521828 


PHARR 


2 MA 


3.704999627 


ROFIE 


2 RD 


11. 13795134 


ROFIE 


2 LA 


4.279818594 


ROFIE 


2 MA 


11.44561239 


WILSON 


2RD 


13.88070319 


WILSON 


2 LA 


5.396477417 


WILSON 


2 MA 


14.38656966 


MCCLOUD 


3RD 


18.07141354 


MCCLOUD 


3 LA 


13.27374433 


MCCLOUD 


3 MA 


16.56172273 


PAUL 


3RD 


14.68962972 


PAUL 


3 LA 


14.04421981 


PAUL 


3 MA 


16.12151382 


SYLVESTER 


3RD 


12 09258306 


SYLVESTER 


3 LA 


9.47995225 


SYLVESTER 


3 MA 


5.50G74530G 


WILLIAMS 


3 RD 


27.58655485 


WILLIAMS 


3 LA 


25.32523529 


WILLIAMS 


3 MA 


23.01671268 


BR AM WELL 


4 RD 


9.255002155 


BRAMWELL 


4 LA 


3.532059716 


BRAMWELL 


4 MA 


6.792958536 


BUTLER 


4 RD 


19.70970725 


BUTLER 


4 LA 


16.62610924 


BUTLER 


4 MA 


15.40790528 


FULFORD 


4- RD 


17.23554221 


FIJI .FORD 


4 LA 


10.86630583 


FULFORD 


4 MA 


10.92209498 


KINO 


4RD 


6.909275388 


KING 


4 LA 


6.673814443 


KING 


4 MA 


5.56832219 


TAYLOR 


4RD 


17.03092435 


TAYLOR 


4 LA 


14.08628719 


TAYLOR 


4 MA 


14 77419759 


DARVILLE 


5 RD 


16.06406154 


DARVILLE 


5 LA 


11.2401808 


DARVILLE 


5 MA 


12.08839125 


FRANKLIN 


5 RD 


13 34900034 


FRANKLIN 


5 LA 


8.524406345 


FRANKLIN 


5 MA 


13 49814414 


LEITNF.R 


5 RD 


7 764803562 


LEITNER 


5 LA 


3.026178452 


LEITNER 


5 MA 


5.355609079 


MATHIS 


5 KD 


27.23956893 


MATHIS 


5 LA 


18.18849872 


MATHIS 


5 MA 


14.06163679 



86 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 



A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Connally Elementary School 
was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 70.5% for the 2009 CRCT. With state 
monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped significantly from 
70.5% to 9.9%. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only one school had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Connally. 

Third, of the 55 flagged classrooms at Connally, 47 (85% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and 32 classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of wrong-to-right erasures occurred without 
adult intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations, the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Connally Elementary School. 

Fourth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures 94% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for 70.5% of the total 
classrooms in the school. 

B. Narrative 

One witness observed Testing Coordinator Wanda Moore-Williams, James Howard and 
Michael Robinette in an office with the tests erasing answers. All three deny any involvement 
with cheating. However, only two individuals had access to the tests - Ms. Williams and 
Principal Mimi Robinson. Principal Mimi Robinson pled the Fifth Amendment in response to 
our questions about her participation in, knowledge of, or direction to cheat on the CRCT. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Joyce Bucklen (Paraprofessional) 

Joyce Bucklen observed James Howard, Wanda Moore- Williams, and Michael Robinette 
in Principal Robinson's office and it "looked like they were erasing on the test." Each person 
had a stack of tests in front of them. At the end of the day, Bucklen heard Howard say he 
changed the tests to get the bonus money. Bucklen stated that Howard would stand in the hall 
during testing and warn teachers who were administering the test if people were coming down 
the hall. Bucklen also observed Howard do this in prior years. 



87 



2. Bobbi Partington (School Improvement Specialist) 



Bobbi Garlington states she "heard" that Moore-Williams, Robinette and Howard were in 
Robinson's office, but does not recall where she heard this information. 

3. Renard McCloud (Teacher) 

Renard McCloud recalled that on the 2008 CRCT, he placed his students 1 answer sheets 
in alphabetical order at the end of the test day and returned them to the testing coordinator. 
When he picked them up the following morning, the answer sheets were out of order. 

4. Latasha Wilson (Teacher) 

Latasha Wilson admitted that when a student in her class bubbled two answers on the 
same question, Moore- Williams directed her to erase both answers and allow the student to 
answer the question again. 

5. Michael Darvi lie (Early Intervention) 

Michael Darville stated that a student reported to him that Gwen Bramwell improperly 
assisted students on the test. 

6. Violet Franklin (Teacher) 

Violet Franklin stated that a student reported to her that Gwen Bramwell improperly 
assisted students on the test. 

7. Klarissa Hightower (Teacher) 

Klarissa Hightower stated that a student reported to her that Gwen Bramwell improperly 
assisted students on the test. 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Mimi Robinson (Principal) 

Principal Robinson asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in 
response to each question asked, including specific questions about her involvement in, and 
knowledge of, cheating at Connally. A copy of the questions Principal Robinson refused to 
answer is included as Attachment A. 

2. Wanda Moore-Williams (Testing Coordinator) 

Wanda Moore-Williams denied erasing student answers or engaging in any other form of 
cheating. She stated that the only time she was in the office with Howard and Robinette was 
during ITBS testing. Howard and Robinette assisted Moore-Williams in packing up the 
students' ITBS tests because Moore-Williams could not lift anything due to a medical condition. 
Moore- Williams believes that Bucklen falsely accused her of changing answers because of a 



88 



personal vendetta against Moore-Williams. She denied ever instructing a teacher to erase a 
students' answer or allowing a student to answer the question again. 

3. James Howard {'Band Director) 

James Howard denied cheating. He stated that he assisted Moore-Williams with the 
ITBS test. 

4. Michael Robinette (Hands on Atlanta) 

Michael Robinette denied cheating or being in an office with Moore-Williams erasing 
answers. Robinette said he would erase stray marks and darken ovals that had already been 
answered. 

5. Gwen Bramwell (Teacher) 
Gwen Bramwell denied cheating on the CRCT. 
E. Other Evidence 

• Connally met AYP in school years 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and 2008- 
2009. 

• In 2009-2010, Connally did not meet AYP. The percentage of classrooms 
flagged for WTR erasures decreased from 70.5% in 2009 to 9.9% in 2010. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that teachers and administrators erased and changed student answer 
documents on the 2009 CRCT at Connally Elementary, but we lack sufficient evidence to say 
which people erased and changed. We also conclude that Gwen Bramwell cheated. Principal 
Mimi Robinson asserted her Fifth Amendment right and refused to answer our questions. 

We conclude that Principal Robinson failed to adequately monitor the 2009 CRCT. 
Principal Mimi Robinson failed in her ultimate responsibility for testing activities and for 
ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for the 2009 CRCT. It is our 
conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this investigation, that 
Principal Robinson failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT and adequately supervise testing 
activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, 
misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



89 



M1MI ROBINSON 

You have information concerning cheating at your school on the 2009 CRCT test, don't 
you? 

You are refusing to provide these investigators with that information, aren't you? 

You directed school employees to cheat on the 2009 CRCT, didn't you? 

You coordinated cheating on the 2009 CRCT at your school, didn't you? 

You facilitated the ability of school employees to cheat on the 2009 CRCT test, right? 

You knew that school employees were cheating on the 2009 CRCT, didn't you? 

You provided school employees with access to the student's CRCT tests so that these 
school employees could cheat? 

You knew that teachers were providing student's with answers to the 2009 CRCT, didn't 
you? 

You changed student's answers on the 2009 CRCT test, didn't you? 

You did not report violations of testing protocol as you were required to do by Georgia 
law, did you? 

In 2009, you were entrusted with ensuring that school employees act ethically? 
Cheating is unethical isn't it? 

You instructed your teachers to cheat on the 2009 CRCT didn't you? 

You pressured your teachers to cheat on the 2009 CRCT didn't you? 

You accepted bonus money from APS based on test scores you knew to be false? 

Your school accepted federal money based in part on test scores you knew to be false? 

By cheating on the CRCT you denied the State of Georgia an accurate assessment of your 
student's academic performance? 

By cheating CRCT you denied the parents of your students an accurate assessment of 
heir children's academic performance? 

By cheating on the CRCT, you denied the children in your care an accurate assessment of 
their own academic performance. 



90 



USHER/COLLIER HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 

631 Harwell Road, N.W. Principal: Gwendolyn Rogers SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotraan 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 1 8 Testing Coordinator: Donald Bullock 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Usher Elementary in 2009. Forty-three people were 
interviewed at this school, some more than once. Three teachers confessed to cheating at the 
direction of the test coordinator, Donald Bullock. Cheating at Usher is evidenced by a high 
number of flagged classrooms, confessions and witness testimony. Principal Gwendolyn Rogers 
failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


211 1 If 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


78.4 


13.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTO. Erasures 


40 


8 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Slandard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


14(14) 


5(2) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


18.5 


4.74 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


38.1 


5.8 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


3.4 



91 



B. Flagg ed Classrooms 



Teachers 


Grades & 
Teat 


Standard 
Deviation 


BROOKS 


1 RD 


17,95822191 


BROOKS 


1 LA 


14.78425145 


BROOKS 


1 MA 


16 28163099 


HOLLAND 


1 RD 


9.053141313 


1 lOLLAN D 


1 LA 


9.06001194 


HOLLAND 


IMA 


6.662318539 


SOY INK A 


1 RD 


10.84326451 


SOYINKA 


1 LA 


15.16342855 


SOYINKA 


IMA 


12.81760464 


ZACHERY 


2 RD 


-i 1 10^52653 


ZACHERY 


2 MA 


7.728348335 


BURNEY WATSON 


3 RD 


24.83074131 


1 BURNKY WATSON 


3 LA 


8.113355496 


BURNEY WATSON 


3 MA 


U.71 760927 


LOVETT 


3RD 


26.70142647 


LOVETT 


3 LA 


9176189494 


LOVETT 


3 MA 


10-01352536 


SANDERS 


3 RD 


22.46947552 


SANDERS 


3 LA 


14.14114288 


SANDERS 


3 MA 


22.0128703 


SMITH 


3 RD 


3146467819 
12.85840002 


SMITH 
SMITH 


3 LA 
3 MA 


7,866562513 


GREEN D 


4RD 


15.57168685 


GREEN D 

JACKSON 


4 LA 


3.398073475 


4RD 


17.20925912 


JACKSON 


4 LA 


10.21667976 


JACKSON 


4 MA 


7.181248635 


WARE 


4 RD 




WARE 


4 LA 


22.97407218 


WARE 


4 MA 


31.1458192 


ARONSON 


5 RD 


37.44090207 


ARONSON 


5 LA 


30.77499827 


ARONSON 


5 MA 


38.11328458 


BRADFORD 


5 RD 


35.93530231 


RRADFORD 


5TA 


26.16562644 


BRADFORD 


5 MA 


37.57052406 


LADR1E 


5 RD 


34.68063584 


LABR1E 


5 LA 


22.11837313 


LABR1E 


5 MA 


20.47356742 



ARV OF F.VIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that educators at Usher cheated on 
the 2009 CRCT. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 78.4% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only four schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
no school had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Usher. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
significantly from 78.4% to 13.3%. 



92 



Fourth, of the 40 flagged classrooms at Usher, 38 had standard deviations that exceeded 
five (95% of the total), and 30 (75% of the total) classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. 
At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at this 
school. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Usher, 95.2% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
78.4% of the total classrooms in the school. 

Finally, three teachers testified that testing coordinator Donald Bullock encouraged and 
allowed teachers to erase and change students' CRCT answer sheets. Principal Rogers knew 
Bullock improperly provided access to the CRCT materials when he announced over the school 
intercom that teachers could keep their tests beyond the testing period. 

B. Narrative 

In 2009, Testing Coordinator Donald Bullock, and numerous teachers participated in 
coordinated, schoolwide cheating. Testing Coordinator Bullock announced that teachers could 
pick up their tests early before the test began and keep them until the end of the school day. 
Principal Gwendolyn Rogers was present in the building when Bullock made this announcement 
and should have been aware that Mr. Bullock distributed the tests early. Mr. Bullock also 
allowed teachers to retrieve their tests in the afternoons after testing ended so that they could 
erase students' answers and change them from wrong to right. Specifically, Mr. Bullock 
approached numerous teachers and asked them how their students performed on the CRCT that 
morning. He then asked the teachers whether they needed to "review" the students' tests to 
make sure the students performed well and met targets. The teachers said they understood that 
Mr. Bullock meant that the teachers should change student answers. If a teacher agreed to 
"review" the tests or "stay late," Mr. Bullock would take the tests and answer documents to the 
teacher's classroom in the afternoon after testing ended for the day. Mr. Bullock placed the tests 
in his briefcase, dropped them off at each teacher's classroom and then retrieved them from each 
teacher, placing them back in his briefcase. 

Prior to the CRCT, Dr. Rogers required the teachers to make a list of their students and 
indicate whether the teacher expected that the student would score high, middle or low. The 
teachers provided this list to Principal Rogers prior to the CRCT. Principal Rogers threatened to 
put any teacher on a PDP who did not have good CRCT scores. She stated to the staff: "If 
Johnny does not know how to read, he had better know how on test day." 

There was tremendous pressure on the teachers to meet targets. Teachers said they feared 
for their jobs if their students failed to meet targets. Other teachers stated that they changed 
answers so that they would be recognized by the school for good test scores. 

Several teachers admitted being surprised by how well their students performed on the 

CRCT. 



93 



C. Testimony of Witnesses 



L Diane Green (Teacher) 

Diane Green changed answers on the 2009 CRCT at Usher. Ms. Green stated that she 
corrected the students' answers because she wanted to get recognized by the school for good test 
scores in reading, A known consequence for poor test results within APS is being placed on a 
PDP. Donald Bullock served as Testing Coordinator at Usher for the first and only time in 2009. 
Bullock made the tests accessible to teachers in order to change student answers by providing the 
tests early on each day of testing or allowing them to retain the tests after the testing period 
ended. On one occasion, Mr. Bullock returned the test to Ms. Green after the test period ended 
using a book bag. He brought them to her classroom where she kept them for approximately 
thirty minutes and changed answers. Mr. Bullock then came back around to collect the tests. 
Ms. Green stated that she only changed the students' tests who had previously been identified as 
"exceeds expectations" on the CRCT because she wanted to make sure they stayed in that 
category. Ms. Green told Mr. Bullock that she was afraid, and he told her, "you don't let anyone 
know that you did it" 



2. Mary Ware (Teacher) 

On at least two days during the 2009 CRCT Mr. Bullock delivered Mary Ware's tests 
back to her in her classroom after the students left for the day. Mr. Bullock told her that she 
needed to meet targets. Ms. Ware changed student answers in her classroom. Mr. Bullock then 
returned to her classroom to collect the tests. Mr. Bullock also directed Ms. Ware to a teacher 
workroom where he instructed her to check the answers of other students in the same grade level . 

3. Stacy Smith (Teacher) 

Stacy Smith confessed to erasing student answers on the 2009 CRCT and changing them 
from wrong to right. Tn 2009, Mr. Bullock approached Ms. Smith after the test period was over 
and asked whether Ms. Smith was staying after school. Mr. Bullock told Ms. Smith to look over 
the tests and see how the students did. Mr. Bullock told Ms. Smith "If you want I can make sure 
your children do well. If you want to get the tests back let me know." Mi; Bullock delivered the 
student answer documents and tests to Ms. Smith's classroom where Ms. Smith changed student 
answers from wrong to right on the reading portion of the test. Mr. Bullock returned to Ms. 
Smith's classroom and retrieved the student answer documents and tests. Ms. Smith changed 
answers because Dr. Rogers put incredible pressure on the teachers to meet targets and told them 
that teachers who did not have good CRCT scores would be placed on a PDP. 

4. Joe Sanders (Teacher) 

Sanders denied that he cheated but stated that Mr. Bullock approached him three different 
times during the 2009 CRCT and asked him whether he wanted to keep his tests and look over 
them to make sure his students did well. Mr. Bullock was more persistent on reading days than 
on math and science days. Sanders told Mr. Bullock he did not want to keep his tests. Two 
other third grade teachers, Ms. Burney and Ms. Lovett, as well as a fifth grade teacher, Ms. 
Warner, told him that they had also been approached by Mr. Bullock. 



94 



5. Sheretha Lovett (Teacher) 



Lovett denied any knowledge of cheating. 

6. Jessica Watson-Bur ney (Teacher) 
Watson-Burney denied any knowledge of cheating. 

7. Monique Campbell (Teacher) 

At faculty meetings, Dr. Rogers told the teachers that they would be placed on a PDP for 
low test performance and that this message came to Rogers from Executive Director Tamara 
Cotman. 

8. Stephanie Warner (Teacher) 

Warner states that Mr. Bullock once asked her if she needed to keep her tests a little 
longer after the students took a particular section. Warner declined and asked, "why would I?" 
Mr. Bullock said, "Oh, just checking" and never approached her about it again. 

9. Brittany Aronson (Teacher) 

Aronson taught fifth grade at Usher in 2009. Her class had an unusually high amount of 
erasures, but she denied that she had any involvement with cheating. She recalled being 
surprised by how many children did well in her class. She stated that one child in particular was 
doing very poorly in school and she recommended that the child receive special education 
instruction. Ms. Aronson stated that this particular student not only passed the CRCT, but 
exceeded. Ms. Aronson stated that in a staff meeting principal Rogers told the staff that "if 
Johnny does not know how to read, he had better know how on test day" Ms. Aronson states 
that principal Rogers ordered her to change certain students' grades from Ds and Fs to Cs. 

10. Tiffany LeBree (Teacher) 

LeBree denied having any knowledge of cheating, but confirmed that principal Rogers 
stated in a staff meeting that "little Johnny may not be able to read now, but he better be able to 
read on test day." 

I J. Ameer ah Malcolm-Hill (Teacher) 

Malcolm Hill confirmed that Donald Bullock made an announcement that the CRCT tests 
could be picked up early and kept until the end of the day. Ms. Malcolm-Hill believes that 
principal Rogers knew this announcement had been made, as it was heard by all personnel in the 
building. 



95 



D. Testimony of Tndividuals Implicate d 
/. Gwendolyn R o gers (Principal) 

Principal Rogers denied participating in, or having knowledge of, cheating on the 2009 
CRCT or any other year. She denied ever making a statement a a faculty meelmg that .1 
Johnny can't read he'd better be able to read on test day." She denied avmg ^ ^owledge 
that Mr. Bullock allowed teachers to pick up tests early or keep them late, and denied that she 
ever heard Mr Bullock make any such announcement over the P.A. system. 

2. Donald Bullock (Testing C oordinator) 

Mr Bullock denied participation in, or knowledge of, cheating. He never allowed 
teachers to pick up tests early or keep them late. He also denied approaching any teacher about 
retrieving their tests after hours and changing answers. 

E. Other Evidence 

Several teachers stated that they were surprised that so many students in 
their class passed the CRCT. 

Numerous teachers stated that Dr. Rogers and the APS Administration 
placed unreasonable pressure on them to meet targets, or be placed on a 
PDP or lose their job. 

Discrepancies exist among some teachers' testimony. While some 
teachers went to the conference room on the morning of testing to pick up 
their tests and sign them out early, others remained in their classroom and 
Mr. Bullock or another individual delivered the tests to their class. 

• Usher made AYP from 2006-2009, but did not in 2010. 

JV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Testing Coordinator Donald Bullock and Principal Rogers directed and 
orchestrated a schoolwide scheme to erase and change student answer J^™* 
provided teachers access to student answer documents by allowing them to pick up twu, ea ly 
keep them throughout the day, or by returning tests to certam teachers each day after the ^ test ng 
period ended. Bullock instructed teachers to change answers to make sure their stents made 
targets. We further conclude that Diane Green, Mary Ware and Stacy Smith cheated on the 2009 
CRCT. 

We found no direct evidence that flagged fifth grade teachers erased and changed student 
answer sheets. However, indirect evidence of cheating exists in those grades based on the 
testimony of Tiffany LeBree and others who testified that Bullock approached them and asked 
them to keep their tests after the test period ended. The statistical probability of even the owes 
wrong-to-right standard deviations present in these classes, in conjunction with Mr. Bu lock s 
practice in other grades of directing teachers to change student answers, as well as the culture of 



96 



intimidation created by Principal Rogers and Bullock, lead us to believe that at least some of the 
first, second and fifth grade teachers erased and changed student answer sheets. Even if the 
teachers did not change his or her own student answers, based upon the above evidence, we 
conclude that another teacher or Mr. Bullock changed the students' answers. 

It is also our conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence that Principal 
Rogers failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately supervise testing activities 
and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or 
erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



97 



PEYTON FOREST ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



301 Peyton Road,SW Principal. Kawn Barlow-Brown SRT-l Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams 

Ailanla. Georgia 3031 1 Testing Coordinator: Cornelia !Yi inous 

I. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Peyton Forest Elementary in 2009. Forty-seven 
people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Cheating at this school is 
evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms and witness testimony. Many teachers were 
involved in the cheating and Principal Karen Barlow-Brown knew of and encouraged cheating. 
Principal Karen Barlow-Brown failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


86.1 


26.1 


Number of Classrooms Flagged Cor WTR Erasures 


62 


18 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.<J (Number of 1 eachers 1- legged 111 Multiple Subjects) 


22(20) 


10(5) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from Stale Norm 


1 1.9 


6.0 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


MA 


14 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.9 


3.2 



98 



FlaggeiClassrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 
Test 


Standard 
Deviation 


[■III I EH 


1 RD 


6.845316639 


Ft U I ER 


1 LA 


7.721533846 


fi mm 


1 MA 


5.238670f)23 


MANNING 


1 RD 


13.7723999 


MANNING 


1 LA 


9.724302665 


MANNING 


1 MA 


12.40459958 


MGRAE JACKSON 


1 RD 


5,305964802 


MCRAK JACKSON 


I LA 


7.014674263 


MCRAE JACKSON 


1 MA 


6.806217113 


merritt 


1 RD 


7.329495331 


M ERR NT 


1 LA 


6.93873241 


MERRITT 


1 MA 


6.590727549 


WILEY 


1 RD 


5.622259282 


WILEY _L 


1 LA 


6.190539421 I 


■ Sfl i'iW 1 '*' ' 'N D 


1 MA 


10.37495625 


BTCKHAM 


2 RD 


15.21267896 


BTCKHAM 


2 LA 


15.74843919 


BICKHAM 


2 MA 


22.54176257 


CAGLE 


2 LA 


Hr. J £ • i "-> ~ D - 1 " 


HERARD 


2 RD 


6.062562011 


HERARD 


2 LA 


11.4619935 


HERARD 


2 MA 


8.160896224 


LAWS HE A 


2 RD 


12.03279573 


LAW SHEA 


2 LA 


16.90360985 


LAWSHEA 


2 MA 


14.60836393 


COLLIER 


3RD 


6.806191242 


COLLIER 


3 LA 


10.77508464 


COLLIER 


3 MA 


3.997514131 


HARRIS 


3RD 


7.709715267 


HARRIS 


3 LA 
3 MA 


7.19057874 
5.600461058 


HARRIS 
1 JAMES 


3 LA 


13.2243945 


WAT TfFlJ 


3RD 


12,25766118 


WALKER 


3 LA 


14.67697977 


WALKER 


3 MA 


8.80635491 1 


WOODS 


3RD 


10.7826517 


WOODS 


3 LA 


9.760537304 


WOODS 


3 MA 


8.429190928 


BATTLE 


4RD 


24.03628557 


BATTLE 


4 LA 


15.03660444 


BATHE 


_4MA 


1 2,07701 994_ 
4,89549029 


CAMPBELL 


4RD 


CAMPBELL 


4 LA 


9.162667904 


CAMPBELL 


4 MA 


7.977518957 ' 


WACKERMAN 


4RD 


15.85135131 


W ACKER MAN 


4 LA 


23.63240343 


WACKERMAN 


4 MA 


23.22866993 


WEAVER 


4 RD 


12.37 150789_ 


WEAVER 


4 LA 


12.48255027 


WEAVER 


4 MA 


19.43110253 


BROWN 


5 RD 


12.27913871 


BROWN 


5 LA 


21.19101291 


BROWN 


5 MA 


16.2515037 


MORRIS 


5 RD 


30.35376941 


MORRIS 


5 LA 


13.72581941 


MORRIS 


5 MA 


3.728938885 


PASCHAL 


5 RD 


34.44880292 


PASCHAL 


5 LA 


10.56260183 


PASCHAL 


5 MA 


10.65198285 


PA1TERSON 


5 RD 


17,50383665 


PA'ITERSON 


5 LA 


10.309544-42 


| PATTERSON 


5 MA 


9,93931656 



99 



II L SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 



A. Overview 



There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Peyton Forest Elementary 
School was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 86.1% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only two schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT 
no school had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Peyton Forest Elementary School. ' 

Third, with state monitors present in 20 10, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
significantly from 86. 1% to 26. 1 %. 

Fourth, of the 62 flagged classrooms at this school, 59 (95% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and 34 classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Peyton Forest Elementary School. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures, 97.1% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for 86.1% of the total 
classrooms in the school. 

Finally, witnesses testified that they heard a select group of teachers were changing 
answers on the CRCT after school and on the weekends. Cynthia James testified that Olivia 
Hams gave her a copy of the 2008 CRCT so that she could use it to prepare her students Olivia 
Hams should not have had a copy of the 2008 CRCT because it was still secured Principal 
Barlow-Brown knew that Han-is gave the test to James. A witness saw teachers cheating on the 
district benchmark assessment tests and the Fifth Grade Writing Test. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

1- Cynthia James (Teacher ) 

In the fall of 2008, Olivia Harris gave Cynthia James a copy of the 2008 CRCT The test 
was clearly marked, "SECURE MATERIALS. MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED " James knew 
that no one should have a copy of the 2008 CRCT so when Principal Barlow-Brown later said to 
James, "I know Ms. Harris gave you some materials," James pretended to be confused James 
kept the copy of the CRCT and gave it. to the GBI and to the Blue Ribbon Commission Wc 
have confirmed the test James had was a copy of the 2008 CRCT. 

James recalled another occasion when Harris had a transparency of a page from the 
CRCT on her classroom wall. Principal Barlow-Brown was walking out of the classroom as 
James walked in, so Principal Barlow-Brown must have seen the transparency as well James 



100 



heard Harris say to teacher Kassia Walker, "I wish Ms. [DePaula] Woods would get back 
because I only know the reading" portion of the test. 

On the makeup day for the CRCT, James saw that Harris' students were in teacher Nicole 
Collier's classroom and at a different time Collier's students were in Hams classroom^ James 
believed that SXr and Harris were taking turns watching each other's student whde the other 
altered test documents. 

A student told James that teachers had given her answers to the CRCT, but did not 
identify specific teachers. 

Students were pulled out of the classroom to be tested separately. James attended a third 
erade meeting at which teachers discussed which students to pull out of their classrooms and test 
C f sSl group These students were tested separately by Loretta Hairston, a retued teacher 
who was brought in to help administer the test. 

James identified two reasons why Principal Barlow-Brown must have known about the 
cheating First, after Hams gave James a copy of the test, ^gJgSStSSStX 
James "I know Ms. Harris gave you some matenals." Second, Hams had a student w.th 
SSg disables who was about to be placed in PEC (special education), however the student 
scored so well on the CRCT the previous year that he could "Ot qualjfy for 
Harris shared her concerns about the discrepancy between the child "WSm te *™f W1,n 
administrator Evelyn Britton. Button told Principal Barlow-Brown about Hams concerns. 

James told Cornelia Primous that something "not right" was going on with the tests and 
that Primous should protect the tests. Primous then locked up the tests in her office. 

James' contract with APS was not renewed after the 2008-2009 school year. She 
believes that Principal Barlow-Brown terminated her in retaliation for not cheating and for 
questioning the actons of the others. 

2. Tameka King (Teacher) 
Tameka King taught special education at Peyton Forest in 2009-2010 and believes 
Principal Barlow-Brown cheated. 

King heard about cheating when she started a, the school in the fall of 2009. She heard 
that the following teachers changed answers on the tests in the library after school and _an , the 
weekends: Cornelia Primous, Stephens (King believes she is a retired teacher), Evelyn Button, 
Olivia Harris, and a paraprofessional. 

The abilities of the children in King's class did not match the high scores they received 
on the 2009 CRCT. King e-mailed Dr. Alexander and Delicia Goodman-Lee with her concerns. 

King believes teachers cheated on the 2010 test as well. She heard children talking to 
each other about how they had the answers to the test. 



101 



3. Bahii Varner (Teacher) 

Bahji Varner' s first year at Peyton Forest was the 2009-2010 school year. Varner was 
not at the school for the 2009 CRCT, but witnessed cheating in 2010. 

Varner saw teachers cheat on the APS district-wide benchmark tests. She proctored 
during this test and saw teachers point to certain questions and then identify the correct answer. 
After completion, the tests were scanned and scored at the school. Enolar Callands would watch 
the tests as they were scored. If the scores were not high enough, the teachers would review the 
tests with the students. Then, the students with low scores were sent to Callands' or Bess Mae 
Paschal' s classroom to retake the test. 

On the Fifth Grade Writing Test, Paschal instructed students to write drafts, and bring 
them to her to review and revise. Only after her revisions were the students allowed to write the 
essay on the official paper. 

Varner said the following teachers cheated on the benchmark tests and the Fifth Grade 
Writing Test: fourth grade teachers Jamie Manning, Cernitha Battle, and Angela Campbell, and 
fifth grade teachers Enolar Callands, Karen Patterson, Milo Morris, Travis Brown, and Bess Mae 
Paschal. Varner stated that Callands was the ringleader. 

Varner did not report the cheating to anyone because she believed everyone to whom she 
should report knew of, and condoned, cheating. 

4. Jessica Wackerman (Teacher) 

In 2009, teacher Enolar Callands took approximately four students from Wackerman' s 
class to test them because of behavior problems. 

Wackerman believes that fellow teachers Cernitha Battle and Enolar Callands changed 
answers for the fourth grade students. Principal Barlow-Brown reprimanded teacher Alisha 
Weaver at a meeting because one of Weaver's students wrote "stomp the CRCT" in her test 
booklet. Principal Barlow-Brown knew what the student wrote because Battle and Callands had 
to go through all of the test booklets and answer sheets to "erase stray marks." The "erasing of 
stray marks" in test booklets would not be necessary because the test booklets are not scanned. 

When the 2009 CRCT results came back, Wackerman was shocked at how well her 
students performed. She believes someone changed her students' tests. 

5. Brenda Bickham (Teacher) 

Brenda Bickham' s third and fifth grade students failed the benchmark tests, but did well 
on the CRCT. When the 2009 CRCT results came out, Bickham told Principal Barlow-Brown 
that her students were not on the level indicated by the CRCT scores. She thinks that the 
administrators changed the tests and that Principal Barlow-Brown, Testing Coordinator Cornelia 
Primous, Assistant Principal Jacquelyn Poindexter, and teacher Olivia Harris were involved. 

Teacher Cynthia James told Bickham that she had a copy of the CRCT for the third grade 
and that she got it from Harris. 



102 



6. Kassia Walker (Teacher) 



Kassia Walker taught third grade at Peyton Forest in 2009. She heard that Harris had a 
copy of the CRCT and transparencies of the test as well. Walker also heard that teachers were 
asked to look at the CRCT booklet. Harris did not give Walker a copy of the test. 

Walker saw that Collier's students would sometimes be in Harris 7 classroom with Harris' 
students and vice versa, on several occasions during the CRCT testing days. 

7. Ramona Rivers (Teacher) 

Ramona Rivers taught at Peyton Forest until 2007. Rivers had no knowledge of cheating 
in 2009 but recalled that Principal Barlow-Brown ridiculed Cemitha Battle for low test scores, 
and that every subsequent year Battles' scores improved. Rivers testified that Dr. Beverly Hall 
replaced former principal Cornelius Watts with Principal Barlow-Brown because of the low test 
scores under Watts. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Karen Barlow-Brown (Principal) 

Karen Barlow-Brown was the principal of Peyton Forest for seven years. She has no 
reason to believe anyone cheated at Peyton Forest. No one ever reported to her that there might 
be cheating on the CRCT and she has never heard rumors of cheating. She would not call 
teachers together to "erase stray marks" on tests because that is against her own belief system 
and personal integrity. She denied asking James if she received anything from Harris. 

Principal Barlow-Brown did not offer any alternative explanation for Peyton Forest's 
extremely high number of erasures. 

2. Cornelia Primous (Testing Coordinator) 

Cornelia Primous was the counselor and testing coordinator at Peyton Forest in 2009. 
She denied knowledge of cheating. 

She and Principal Barlow-Brown disagreed about where the tests should be sorted in 
2009. Principal Barlow-Brown told Primous to sort them in the cafeteria but Primous argued 
that they needed to be sorted in a more secure location. The tests were sorted in a conference 
room and were stored in a room in the media center. She thinks that the only people with keys to 
that room were Librarian Cynthia Thomas and Principal Barlow-Brown. 

She heard that Harris had a copy of the CRCT in 2008 prior to the administration of the 
2009 test. Primous believes Principal Barlow-Brown fired teacher Ramona Rivers because she 
would not take a copy of the test. 

Principal Barlow-Brown moved children who were "slower" to a separate room to be 
tested by Loretta Hairston. This was a testing violation, but Primous did not report it because 
she was intimidated by Principal Barlow-Brown and feared retribution. 



103 



3. Olivia Harris (Teacher) 



Olivia Harris denied the allegations made by Cynthia James. Harris claimed that she 
downloaded practice test materials from the Georgia Department of Education website and 
provided the practice material to other teachers. GOSA compared the test allegedly given by 
Harris to James and confirmed it is a copy of the 2008 CRCT and not practice material. 

Harris had three subjects flagged in 2010 as well. 

Jamie Manning denied knowledge of cheating on the CRCT. 

5. Cemitha Baffle (Teacher) 

Cernitha Battle denied knowledge of cheating on the CRCT. 

6. Angela Campbell (Teacher) 

Angela Campbell denied knowledge of cheating on the CRCT. 

Enolar Callands denied knowledge of cheating on the CRCT. 

8. Karen Patterson (Teacher) 

ICaren Patterson denied knowledge of cheating on the CRCT. 

9. Mi lo Morris (Teacher) 

Milo Monis denied knowledge of cheating on the CRCT. 

10. Travis Brown (Teacher) 

Travis Brown denied knowledge of cheating on the CRCT, 

11. Bess Mae Paschal (Teacher) 

Bess Mae Paschal denied knowledge of cheating on the CRCT. / 
IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude there was cheating at Peyton Forest on the CRCT and other tests. Olivia 
Harris had a copy of the 2008 CRCT and used it to prepare students for the 2009 CRCT. She 
also gave copies of the 2008 CRCT to other teachers. One teacher admitted she received a copy 
of the 2008 test, and the evidence indicates other teachers received a copy as well. We also 
conclude that teachers at Peyton Forest violated testing procedure because students who were not 
documented as special needs were tested separately from their homeroom by Enolar Callands 
and a retired teacher. 



104 



There is eyewitness testimony that Jamie Manning, Cernitha Battle, Angela Campbell, 
Enolar Callands, Karen Patterson, Milo Morris, Travis Brown, and Bess Mae Paschal cheated on 
the Fifth Grade Writing Test and APS benchmark tests in 2010. These teachers' extremely high 
wrong-to-right erasures on the 2009 CRCT lead us to conclude they cheated on the CRCT as 
well. We believe teachers were not truthful with investigators because they feared retaliation. 

Finally, some students' high CRCT scores were not consistent with their actual abilities 
and teachers shared their concerns about this with Principal Barlow-Brown. There was a 
precipitous gain in CRCT scores in 2009 and a drop in 2010 (20 declines out of 21 subject 
comparisons). 

Principal Barlow-Brown knew of the cheating this school. She knew that Olivia Harris 
had a copy of the 2008 CRCT. She should have known that teachers were cheating on the 
benchmarks and writing tests. Furthermore, Principal Barlow-Brown failed to ensure the ethical 
administration of and proper security for the 2009 CRCT. It is our conclusion from the statistical 
data and the other evidence that Principal Barlow-Brown failed to properly monitor the 2009 
CRCT and adequately supervise testing activities and security. This resulted in, and she is 
responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 
CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 

We also conclude there were rule violations in the administration of the 2009 CRCT and 
that Testing Coordinator Cornelia Primous failed in her responsibility to provide a secure testing 
environment. 



105 



EAST LAKE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



145 4 th Avenue SE Principal: Gwendolyn Benton SRT-3 Executive Director: Dr. Gloria Patterson 

Atlanta, Georgia 30317 Testing Coordinator: Fran Standifer 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at East Lake Elementary in 2009 and in other years. 
Thirty-five people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Cheating at East Lake 
is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms and witness testimony. Principal 
Gwendolyn Benton and Testing Coordinator Fran Standifer erased and changed students' 
answers on the 2009 CRCT. They also altered the results of the Fifth Grade Writing Test. 
Principal Benton failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





20(19 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


42 





Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


21 





Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


9(8) 





Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


7.1 





Ffigh Flagged Standard Deviation 


14.2 





Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.4 






B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Pest 


Deviation 


MILLER 


1 RD 


4 4970741 rn 


MILLER 


1 LA 


12.82386133 


MILLER 


1 MA 


9.186071087 


SMITH 


1 RD 


14.17018511 


SMITH 


1 LA 


12.987849 


SMITH 


IMA 


1L.56563203 


OLIVE 


2 RD 


4.639239175 


OLIVE 


2 LA 


6.699333434 


HADLEY 


3 RD 


U. 43 460607 


HADLEY 


3 LA 


4.064295785 


HADLEY 


3 MA 


3.976207527 


JONES ALLIE 


3 LA 


4.907894118 


JONES ALLIE 


3 MA 


6.70508625 


STAHL 


3 T ,A 


3.367696838 


STAHL 


3 MA 


4.159624824 


ROGERS MARTIN 


4 RD 


6.774758244 


ROGERS MARTIN 


4 LA 


3.791735331 


WASHINGTON 


4 RD 


8.709784986 


WASHINGTON 


4 LA 


3.752489229 


WASHINGTON 


4 MA 


6.136764455 


WALLS 


5 MA 


4.452757051 



106 



m. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 



A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that East Lake Elementary School 
was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 42% for the 2009 CRCT. With state 
monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped significantly from 42% 
to 0%. 

Second, of the 21 flagged classrooms at East Lake Elementary School, 11 (52% of the 
total) had standard deviations that exceeded five, and five classrooms exceeded ten standard 
deviations. At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred 
without adult intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard 
deviations the probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations 
from the state mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad 
scale at East Lake Elementary School. 

Third is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at East Lake, 70.5% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
42% of the total classrooms in the school. 

Fourth, Principal Benton created an environment that encouraged cheating. She 
threatened teachers with PDPs if CRCT scores did not improve. She told her teachers to "do 
whatever we have to do even if it means breaking the rules" to make APS targets. She instilled 
fear of reprisal into her teachers so they would not report cheating at East Lake. 

Finally, Principal Benton and Testing Coordinator Fran Standifer instructed teachers to 
arrange their students in a way that caused lower performing students to receive easier Fifth 
Grade Writing Tests. 

B. Narrative 

Principal Benton pressured teachers at East Lake to "find a way" to improve CRCT 
scores "even if it meant breaking the rules." She threatened teachers with PDPs if CRCT scores 
did not improve. Teachers at East Lake did not voice concerns over testing irregularities and 
cheating for fear of reprisal against them by Principal Benton. 

They cheated in three ways. First, Principal Benton instructed teachers to erase stray 
marks on their students' answer sheets, and expected teachers to fill in answers to questions the 
students left blank, and erase an answer when the student bubbled in more than one answer 
selection. 

Second, they erased wrong answers. Principal Benton required teachers to provide her 
with frequent updates on students' benchmark testing progress. Principal Benton kept posters 
containing students' testing data in her office, so she could easily identify the students who were 



107 



struggling. During the administration of the CRCT, Principal Benton required teachers to provide 
her with the names of students who failed the test - immediately after each section of the CRCT 
was administered. The only way for teachers to know which students failed was to review the 
tests right after the students completed them. 

During the CRCT testing window. Principal Benton and Fran Standifer often met in 
Benton's office where the CRCT materials were stored for extended periods of time with the 
door closed. During the 2010 CRCT, however, when state monitors and security cameras were 
in the building, both Benton and Standifer left the building early. In 2010 Principal Benton told 
teachers that the newly-installed security cameras would make sure "nothing came back on her," 
referring to CRCT cheating. 

Teachers described students whose skills and abilities did not correspond to their high 
CRCT scores. Teachers also described students who fell asleep or refused to complete portions 
of the CRCT, but met or exceeded expectations on the CRCT. One teacher testified that two of 
her students asked her if she would give them the answers for the CRCT "like our teacher did 
last year." 

During the administration of the CRCT, a student complained to his teacher that his 
answer sheet was placed in his test booklet in a different spot than where he left it the previous 
day. The teacher examined the answer sheet and saw that it contained heavy erasures. As she 
examined the answer sheet, Principal Benton entered her classroom and instructed the teacher to 
put the answer sheet down. The next day Principal Benton transferred the teacher to 
kindergarten. 

Third, Principal Benton and Fran Standifer devised a scheme to allow the lower 
performing students to receive the easiest questions for the Fifth Grade Writing Test. The tests 
were supposed to be handed out at random. Principal Benton and Fran Standifer instructed 
teachers to seat their students in a particular order and to hand out writing tests in a particular 
order. By pre-arranging the students and the tests, Principal Benton and Fran Standifer 
attempted to alter the results of the State writing test in 2009 and in other years. 

Principal Benton interfered with and obstructed this investigation. She told teachers that 
the GBI was "putting words in people's mouths." She threatened teachers that she would "sue 
them out the ass," if any of them "slandered" her to the GBI. Teachers told GBI agents that they 
would not have testified truthfully to us if Principal Benton was still in charge of East Lake, for 
fear of retaliation. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Claudia Abboud (Teacher) 

After reviewing East Lake's wrong-to-right erasure data, Claudia Abboud believes 
cheating occurred on the CRCT at East Lake in 2009 and in other years; however, she does not 
think teachers cheated because teachers did not have time to erase students' answer sheets. 
Abboud noted that although East Lake's students met 100% of their APS targets on the 2008 
CRCT, the students' abilities did not match these scores. She heard that another teacher 



108 



witnessed Principal Benton's car parked at the school over the weekend when the 2009 CRCT 
materials were in the building. 

2. Morresia Withers (Media Specialist) 

Morresia Withers remembers that Principal Benton and Standifer stayed late behind 
closed doors during the CRCT testing period in 2009 and other years. After a security camera 
was installed around Principal Benton's office for the 2010 testing window, however, Principal 
Benton and Standifer did not stay late at the school during the CRCT testing window. 

Withers proctored the 2009 CRCT writing test in Stephanie Walls' classroom. She said 
that Principal Benton and Standifer instructed Withers and Walls to seat the students in a 
particular order for the Fifth Grade Writing Test. Withers explained the writing test was 
supposed to be handed out randomly, and the seating arrangement scheme ensured that the 
lowest performing students received the easiest writing question. Withers and Walls ignored 
Principal Benton and Standifer' s instruction, but did not report the attempted violation to APS's 
testing hotline. 

Withers said that APS had a "mafia atmosphere" and that employees feared retaliation if 
they spoke up. Principal Benton threatened to place teachers on PDPs for low CRCT scores, and 
stated: "We will do whatever it takes to make sure the students pass the test." 

3. Raqketa Williams (Teacher) 

On her first day at East Lake in 2009, Principal Benton told Raqketa Williams, "At East 
Lake we do whatever we have to do even if it means breaking the rules," pointed to the prior 
year's CRCT scores and said, "See the scores? East Lake makes its targets." 

Williams recalls that Principal Benton referred to the new security cameras around her 
office during the 2010 CRCT testing window, and stated, "nothing is coming back on me," 
Williams understood Benton meant the security cameras would not show Principal Benton 
altering students' CRCT answer sheets. 

Because of fear of reprisal by Principal Benton, Raqketa Williams would not have 
testified truthfully to us if Principal Benton was still at East Lake. 

4. Stephanie Walls (Teacher) 

Principal Benton instructed Stephanie Walls to create a seating chart for her students to 
be used during the 2010 Fifth Grade Writing Test. Principal Benton instructed Morresia Withers 
to pass out the writing test to Walls' students in a particular order. Walls explained that by 
passing the tests out in the order Principal Benton wanted, the lower performing students would 
receive easier writing questions. Walls and Withers discussed Principal Benton's instruction and 
decided to ignore it. They passed the tests out randomly. 

Walls stated that another teacher, Rashida Davis, received similar instructions from 
Standifer and discussed the matter with Principal Benton. Walls is unaware of the outcome of 
that conversation. 



109 



5. Verna McGhee (Teacher) 



Principal Benton asked each teacher which students met, exceeded, and failed to meet 
expectations after each daily session of the CRCT. Verna McGhee further testified that Principal 
Benton instructed teachers to erase stray marks on the CRCT answer sheets, and "expected" 
teachers to fill in answers for questions left blank, erase answers if the student bubbled in two or 
more answer choices, and fill in partially-filled circles. Principal Benton instructed teachers to 
never discuss the CRCT. 

Another teacher, Viola Nears, told McGhee that the first and second grade teachers used 
voice inflection to prompt their students during administration of the CRCT. 

In 2008, McGhee saw Principal Benton's car parked at the school on a Saturday when the 
CRCT materials were in the building. McGhee noted that Principal Benton's car was parked in 
the back of the building and this was unusual because Principal Benton always parked in the 
front of the building. 

McGhee described a meeting between Principal Benton and teachers where Principal 
Benton stated that the GBI "was putting words in people's mouths, and interrogating them." 
Principal Benton further stated that her son was a lawyer, and that "if anyone slanders me I will 
sue them out the ass." McGhee stated that she could only testify truthfully without fear of 
reprisal because Principal Benton was no longer employed at the school. 

Former testing coordinator at East Lake, Royce Love-Diagne, once told McGhee, "Dr. 
Hall expects us to cheat " 

6. Maria Johnson (Teacher) 

During the 2004 CRCT, Maria Johnson saw a proctor prompt students to change answers. 
She reported the violation to then-testing coordinator Royce Love-Diagne, but is unaware if any 
action was taken. Two of Maria Johnson's students asked if she would give them the answers to 
the 2010 CRCT like their teachers did the previous year. Johnson had a student who exceeded 
on the CRCT one year and was placed on a PEC the next year for low performance. 

Principal Benton threatened to place teachers on a PDP if their low CRCT scores did not 
improve. Johnson believes Principal Benton changed answers on the 2009 CRCT because 
teachers did not have access to the tests. Specifically, Johnson identified a Saturday when she 
volunteered at a Hands On Atlanta event at East Lake. The CRCT materials were in the building 
on that Saturday. All of the volunteers worked outside the school building except Principal 
Benton and her daughter, a teacher in Gwinnett County, who stayed in the building. 

7. Kori Smith (Instructional Coach) 

Principal Benton required teachers to provide her with a list of students who did not do 
well after each section of the CRCT. 

Kori Smith recalled a student who failed every class but exceeded expectations on the 
CRCT. She believes that based on the student's skills, his test score was not possible. Principal 



110 



Benton instructed Smith to change that student's classroom grades from failing to C s Smith 
refused to change the grades. She later reviewed his file and noticed that someone else had 
changed his grades. Smith recognized the handwriting that made the changes as belonging to 
Principal Benton's secretary, 

During one CRCT test session, a student complained to Smith that his answer sheet was 
in a different place in the test booklet than where he placed it the previous day. Smith examined 
the answer sheet and noticed that it had heavy erasures. As she was examining the answer sheet, 
Principal Benton entered her classroom. Principal Benton motioned for Kon Smith to put down 
the answer sheet. Smith was transferred to a kindergarten class the next day. 

8. ChervlJones-Attie (Teacher) 

Cheryl Jones-Ailie identified one student who could not read on a third grade level but 
rjassed the CRCT Jones-AIlie did not believe that student was capable of passing the CRCT. 
Another student fell asleep during the reading section of the CRCT for the first half hour of the 
testing session, but passed that portion. 

After reviewing her classroom's wrong-to-right erasure data, Jones-AIlie stated that her 
students did not have time to make all the erasures on their test sheets during the testing period. 

Another teacher told Jones-AIlie that she had seen an administrator's car at the school 
building on a Sunday afternoon when the CRCT answer sheets were in the building. 

9. Julie Rogers-Martin (Teacher) 

Principal Benton kept charts and posters on her walls with the benchmark scores and 
previous CRCT scores for sfcidents, so she was aware of which students would perform poorly 
on the CRCT. Principal Benton threatened to place teachers on PDPs if their CRCT scores did 
not improve, and singled out teachers with low CRCT scores at meetings. 

Julie Rogers-Martin recalled that 100% of her students met expectations on the Social 
Studies portion of the 2008 CRCT. She was surprised by this result because she knew that she 
did not focus on Social Studies throughout the school year, but focused on the AYP subjects ot 
math, reading, and language arts. 

Rogers-Martin had a student who could barely read in her class one year. She filled out 
paperwork to place him on a PEC but to her knowledge he was never placed on a PEC. That 
student failed the CRCT but was socially promoted to the third grade. Inexplicably, the student 
exceeded expectations on his third grade CRCT. He was then placed on a PEC m fourth grade. 

In 2009, a student told Rogers-Martin that his previous teachers gave him answers on the 
CRCT. Rogers-Martin recalled two students who refused to complete sections of their 2009 
CRCT. Both were removed from her classroom. Both passed the CRCT. 



111 



1 



10. Shonda Fulton (Secretary) 

Nobody is allowed to enter Principal Benton's office without first checking with Shonda 
Fulton. If the office door is shut, Fulton always knocks and waits for a response from Principal 
Benton before entering. If she receives no response, she will not enter the office. She recalls 
leaving between 4:00 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. during the weeks of CRCT testing, and that Principal 
Benton and Fran Standifer were often still meeting in Principal Benton's office. 

11. John Stahl (Special Education) 

Principal Benton required teachers to provide lists of students who they thought would 
not pass the CRCT. Principal Benton often told teachers to "find a way" for these students to 
pass the CRCT. She instructed teachers to "assign quotas, figure it out, and do what you gotta 
do," for students to pass the CRCT. John Stahl also heard that other teachers used voice 
inflection to prompt their students on the CRCT at East Lake. 

12. John Young (Teacher) 

Many of John Young's students' skills and abilities did not match their prior CRCT 
scores. He thinks that cheating happened at East Lake on the CRCT in 2009 and in other years, 
but stated that teachers could not cheat because they did not have time to erase and change 
students' answer sheets. 

Young recalled one year at East Lake a "clean up the school" event was planned for the 
weekend when the CRCT materials would be in the school. A storm was predicted for that 
weekend, and many people asked Principal Benton to reschedule the event for a different 
weekend. Principal Benton insisted the event be held when the CRCT materials were in the 
building. John Young and other teachers at East Lake think Principal Benton changed answers 
on the CRCT over that weekend. 

IS. Rashida Davis (Teacher) 

Many of Rashida Davis' students' skills did not match their previous CRCT scores. She 
recalls that in prior years, Fran Standifer and Principal Benton always stayed at the school late 
during the CRCT testing window. During the 2010 year, however, both Principal Benton and 
Standifer left early during the Fifth Grade Writing Test. 

One year Standifer and Principal Benton instructed Davis to prepare a seating chart for 
her students to sit in during the Fifth Grade Writing Test. She prepared a seating chart based on 
her knowledge of students' relationships to one another to minimize disruption during the test. 
Principal Benton and Standifer revised the seating chart heavily, and provided Davis with 
specific instructions as to how to pass out the Fifth Grade Writing Test. Davis believes that the 
instructions for passing out the Fifth Grade Writing Test were to make certain that lower 
performing students received easier Fifth Grade Writing Tests. 



112 



D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 



1. Fran Standifer (Testing Coordinator) 

Testing Coordinator Fran Standifer described Principal Benton as overbearing. Standifer 
was forbidden to count CRCT materials or place those materials in bins without Principal Benton 
present. Standifer did not have a key to Principal Benton's office where the CRCT materials 
were stored. 

Standifer purchased pencils and erasers for distribution at East Lake during the CRCT. 
When she collected the erasers they were extremely worn. Fran Standifer denies any knowledge 
of cheating. 

2. Royce Love-Diasne (Former Testing Coordinator) 

Royce Love-Diagne recalled Principal Benton often stating "teachers need to get their 
students to pass the CRCT by any means necessary." She denied ever instructing teachers to 
cheat on the CRCT. 

3. Gwendolyn Benton (Principal) 

Principal Benton denied any knowledge of cheating on the CRCT at East Lake. She 
opined that all erasing done on the CRCT in 2009 was done by the students. She stated that for 
the fourth grade reading portion of the CRCT, East Lake's scores only dropped one percentage 
point between 2009 and 2010. Since no classes were flagged in 2010 for having high wrong-to- 
right erasures, and the scores in one section for one grade did not drop, Principal Benton believes 
that proves there was no cheating at East Lake in 2009. 

Principal Benton denied telling a new teacher, "At East Lake we do whatever we have to 
do even if it means breaking the rules." She denied that she instructed Kori Smith to put down a 
student answer sheet, as Kori Smith described, and did not transfer her to kindergarten in 
retaliation. 

E. Other Evidence 

On April 13, 2010, anonymous staff members at East Lake Elementary sent a letter to 
SRT-3 Executive Director Robin Hall detailing the oppressive environment created by Principal 
Benton, and describing cheating and testing violations at East Lake. A copy of that letter is 
included as Attachment A. Robin Hall contacted Kathy Augustine and described the letter. 
Augustine told Robin Hall that APS previously investigated the matter, and instructed her to take 
no action. A copy of Robin Hall's letter to Millicent Few describing Augustine's instructions is 
included as Attachment B. 

TV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Principal Benton and Fran Standifer erased and changed student answer 
sheets on the 2009 CRCT and in other years. We further conclude that Principal Benton and 



113 



Fran Standifer altered the results of the Fifth Grade Writing Test in 2009 and other years by 
manipulating the distribution of the wnUng test. 

tt is also our conclusion from the statistical data and Wfef^^^S 
investigation, that Principal Benton failed tc > property monjj £ W» jggt .gjjjg** 



114 



11/18/2010 12:19 404 802 3894 



SRr 3 



1 393 P. 00T/O01 



RECEIVED 
APR ) 3 m 



. 1»"?9-T0P12:4 7 RCYD 

To:Dr:RflbynHall. * 
From: East Lake's Staff (present and former) 
Date: March 3, 2010 

Welcome to SRT3. . We at East Lake have decided to teH the truth concerning the 
Erasure Analysis, It is not our intern to embarrass the Atlanta School Board or Dr. 
Beverly Hall. We know as well as the powers to be that there is validity to these 
findings, no one would ever tell a student to cross out on their answer sheet and than 
erase. They are instructed to We 
can't speak for any other school but we can certainly state facts about East Lake 
Elementary, We are losing about half of our staff because the system did not do anything 
to Mrs, Benton when she committed FORGERY. She was given a slap on the wrist and 
told not to do it again, ft was" stated that if it became pubHc knowledge that if would 
affect not only her but others as well. Where is your INTER GR1TY? The system 
allowed the BEAST to roam freely" and she has destroyed everything in her path. One 
can only assume that Dr. Hall (superintcndcrir) will allow anyone to stay as long as they 
make her look good regardless of what they do or say. We have or had to deal with her 
on a daily basics and it is or was not pleasant. Everyone (parents, teachers, 1LSX 
students) told you about her but you simply ignored it, You all started Uie fixe so we are 
going to put it out! How DARE you have some one stand before us- and say that she is 
for the children. She like the rest is only for HERSELF, and in the process the staff has 
or had to work under someone that we don't or didn't RESPECT or TRUST. We are 
only extending Atlanta mis courtesy, because none has ever been extended to us. This 
information will be passed on to the Governor's office as well as the press. We have 
agreed to take Polygraphs because she wUl deny everything. Here are some of the CRCT 
testing irregularities that took place at East I-ake. We strongly suggest that you send her 
to another school so that everyone will stay. Trust us; they ARE leaving or DID leave 
because of her. People are trying to find jobs not lose mem. The situation here is that 
HAD! 

• Threats if your scores showed where the children actually were and not where she 
wanted them to be. (making your targets) 

• Irrtimidation if you ever disagree disagreed with her. (The Miller and Love- 
Juan cases) 

• Questions: Such as how many of your students are testing on level three during 
the actual tasting period? (asked by Mrs. Benton) 

• Moving teachers from upper grades to lower grades if their students didn't make 
the targets or vice-verSft. 

• "A War Room where all students bad to be listed under each level by the teachers. 
Therefore, makin g it easier (for her) to erase answers' from wrong to right on 
students listed under levels two and three without suspicion, 

• Teachers being allowed to see a copy of the test during make-up testing. 

• Coming on the weekend parking her car behind the building. The students' tests 
and answer uheets are locked in a room in her office. 



115 



6/2Q10 13:40 404 602 3B94 



SflT 3 



#1431 P. 002/003 




} ATLANTA 
PUBLIC 
SCHOOLS 

Making A Difference 



Robin 0. Ha^l, D.A.H. 

K-8 School Reform Team- 3 

1631 LaFkanor SrRiatfP, N, js» 
Atlanta, GUORGia 30307 

PHONE (404) B0&-37KL 
Fax: IW* fi02-8SG4? 404 a7a-ftfll6~tfBAM FA_X 



November 22, 2010 



TO: MUlicent Few, Chief Human Resources Officer 

FROM : Row* C. Hall. DA & 

Executive Director, SRT 3 

Re: East Lake Letter Received April 13, 2010 



On April a 2010, 1 received a letter regarding concerns at East Lake to wduto woom 
by the principal and climate at the school that may have resiiltedm unrtucd testmg 
practices. I then contacted my immediate supervisor, Dr. Katfcy Augusttne, to imonn 
her of this letter, She asked who the letter was from and I indicated that U stateatrom 
former and current staff of Bast Lake. Dr. Augustine replied tot she had ^ived 
SSdS about East Lake from the same sender (former and current «ff aVm 
End that aU complaints were investigated. At that time, 1 was not advised to take 

If additional clarification is needed, please do not hesitate to tet me know, 
RCB:sac 



i i , ■ — i " ■ ■ 1 



116 



COOK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



211 Memorial Drive SE Principal: LaPaul Shelton SRT-3 Executive Director: Dr. Gloria Patterson 

Atlanta, GA 303 12-2021 Testing Coordinator: Carla Ross 

T. TNVES TTGA TTVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Cook Elementary in 2009 and in previous years. 
Twenty-one people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Two teachers 
confessed to cheating. Cheating is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, 
confessions, and witness testimony. Principal LaPaul Shelton provided low performing students 
with accommodations which were not allowed. Principal Shelton knew of cheating by teachers. 
He confirmed at least one eyewitness report of cheating on the CRCT, but took no action against 
the teacher. Principal LaPaul Shelton failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage or Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


40.7 


5 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


22 


3 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


L0(8) 


3(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


7.4 


3.2 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


23.6 


3.3 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


3.1 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


ANDERSON 


3 LA 


4.376594004 


NELSON LYNCH 


3 LA 


5.07848474 


NET. SON LYNCH 


3 MA 


4.551656176 


VAN WALKER 


3RD 


5.801215391 


VAN WALKER 


3 LA 


3.6491074 


VAN WALKER 


3 MA 


3. 3 3985 849 L 


WILLIAMS 


3 RD 


4.666014429 


WILLIAMS 


3 LA 


5.713336681 


WILLIAMS 


3 MA 


3.379414277 


REIMNITZ 


4 RD 


6.630912183 


REIMNITZ 


A MA 


3.88169777 


ROBERTSON 


4RD 


5.200395825 


ROBERTSON 


4 LA 


3.837983358 


ROBERTSON 


4 MA 


3.065196438 


WATKIS 


4 RD 


4.791002758 


OFOSUHENE 


5 RD 


14.4839867 


OFOSUIIENE 


5 LA 


10.99026074 


OFOSUHENE 


5 MA 


17,75189629 


VASSAN 


5 LA 


3.917899606 


VASSAN 


5 MA 


11.5343103 


WEEMS 


5 RD 


13.1011272 


WE EMS 


5 MA 


23.63884013 



117 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Cook Elementary School was 
not manage "ure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 40.7% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only 23 schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT 
only nine schods had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Cook Elementary School. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
from 40.7% to 5%. 

Fourth of the 22 flagged classrooms at Cook Elementary School, 11 (50% of the total) 
had sta darfdeviations that^ceeded five, and six classrooms exceeded ten standard dev,a*or n 
At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
mtewenS or cheating, i no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations , the 
proS% \ no better fhan one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the sMe 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at this 
school. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures, 68% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 40.7 /„ of the 
total classrooms in the school. 

Sixth testing protocols were not followed at Cook. Principal Shelton, Cheryl Dumas 
and Ten ImiA pulled low performing students from their regular classrooms and administered 
the CRCT to them separately in a room with the door closed and windows covered. Many of 
these students' answer sheets have high wrong-to-nght erasures. 

Finally two teachers confessed to cheating at Cook. Principal Shelton knew cheating 
occurred, but instead of reporting it, he erased and changed the previously changed answers. 

B. Narrative 

In 2008 and 2009, cheating occurred at Cook Elementary through various means Two 
teachers Deborah Weems and Kwabena Ofusuhene, confessed to erasing and changing siuoem 
antwe s in die parent conference room while they were supposed to be erasing stray mark, 
W^ms cl a„ged Answers for her own class, as well as other teachers' classes. Weems used a go 
Z ZlZ 7 student who she knew would "exceed" on the test. Weems used a transparency 
c ea S or one of the test forms. Weems and Ofusuhene also prompted students and duected 
meniTo the°ight answers during administration of the test, causing students to erase and change 
their own answers. 



118 



Teachers cheated because they feared for their jobs if they failed to make targets or AYP. 
Principal Shelton constantly reminded teachers that if they could not make AYP, they should not 
be in the profession and threatened teachers with PDPs for failure to meet targets. • He also 
publicly humiliated and demeaned teachers in faculty meetings if their students performed 
poorly. 

Principal Shelton should have been on notice of potential cheating when numerous 
teachers complained that their students' performance in class and on diagnostic tests did not 
match their performance on the CRCT the prior year. Principal Shelton knew that teachers at 
Cook were cheating and covered it up. A teacher reported to Shelton that she witnessed another 
teacher change one of her student's answers, and suspected others were changed as well. 
Shelton retrieved the students' tests and confirmed the answers had been changed, so he changed 
the students' new, correct answers back to the original wrong answer. Despite his assurance that 
he would handle the situation, Principal Shelton never addressed the accused teacher, filed an 
OTR report or took other action. 

Principal Shelton also violated testing protocols by pulling students out of class and 
testing them in the afternoon in small groups outside of the normal testing period. The students, 
tested in a room with the window covered and door closed, were typically low performers but 
were not entitled to special accommodations. Principal Shelton asked teachers to provide him 
with a list of students in their class who were low performers or behavior problems. He also 
allowed some students to "re-take" sections of the CRCT if, according to their teacher, they were 
distracted or did not perform well during the morning testing session. 

A review of the student data reveals that several students who Shelton pulled out for 
small group testing had very high wrong- to-right erasures. Moreover, several flagged teachers 
testified that the erasure analysis indicated that they tested more students than they actually did 
because Principal Shelton pulled students from these teachers' classes and tested them 
elsewhere, 

C Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Deborah Weems (Teacher) 

In 2008 and 2009, Deborah Weems cheated on the CRCT by erasing and changing 
student answers and by giving students answers during testing. Weems admitted to cheating and 
said she felt pressured to cheat by Principal Shelton. Principal Shelton told teachers that if they 
could not make AYP, then they needed to look for another profession. Shelton never told 
Weems to cheat, but it was understood that it needed to be done. Principals could be put on 
PDPs if the school failed to perform. The principal would then put teachers on the "chopping 
block" and APS would "blacklist" them. Shelton felt it was very important to be "on the floor" 
and get recognized during the annual Convocation ceremony. 

During testing, Weems improperly assisted her students. She told her students in 
advance that if she walked by them and told them they needed to check their answer or if she 
called out that a certain question needed to be reviewed again, that was a signal that they had the 



119 



answer wrong. Then Weems would walk back to the student and look at the question again. If 
she walked away, that meant the student had the answer correct. 

Teachers erased stray marks from the tests before turning them in. While "erasing stray 
marks," Weems changed students' answers for the tests on her grade level, as well as others. In 
2009, Weems changed answers with Kwabena Ofusuhene, a fellow fifth grade teacher. When 
changing answers, Weems used a "go-by" or key. In 2008, the former media specialist, Tiffonia 
Lamar-Sanders, gave her answers for the tests. Weems suspected they may have come from 
tests of students who were late or absent and were tested separately. Weems and Ofusuhene 
looked over the tests at the end of each test day so they would not get "backlogged" while they 
made the changes. 

Weems does not believe that Testing Coordinator Carla Ross knew about the cheating. 
Ross left the parent room where the teachers were erasing stray marks so the teachers could stay 
in the room with the tests as long as they wanted. In 2009, Ofusuhene distracted Ross so that 
Weems could change answers on the tests. 

In 2009, Daniel a Vassan was present in the room while Weems and Ofusuhene changed 
answers. Vassan told Weems she was tempted to fill in one of her student's answers, but did not 
do it. Weems took the test from Vassan and filled in the answer. 

She thinks that Jacinta Williams and Amanda Lynch may also have changed student 
answers. She saw them erasing. 

Weems denied that she was ever approached by Principal Shelton regarding any 
allegations of cheating made against her. 

2. Kwabena Ofusuhene (Teacher) 

Kwabena Ofusuhene admitted that while "erasing stray marks" in the parent center, he 
erased and changed student answers. Weems provided him with the answers to the test for the 
math section and he used it to "fix answers." Weems knew which of her students would exceed 
on the test and used one of their answer sheets as a guideline. He denied changing answers on 
other teachers' papers. 

He heard that the third grade teachers "fixed" answers. 

3. Ti ffonia Lamar-Sanders (Former Media Specialist) 

During the four or five years she was at Cook, Principal Shelton pulled students for small 
group testing. These students were typically behavioral problems or had "test anxiety." 

4. Jacinta Williams (Teacher) 

Jacinta Williams saw Weems take a sheet from Daniela Vassan and fill in a student 
answer. In 2009, Weems and Ofusuhene stayed in the parent conference room much longer than 
other teachers to erase stray marks. Williams denied changing any answers. 



120 



Principal Shelton came to Williams at the end of each test day and inquired how she 
thought her students performed. She informed Shelton which students did not complete, or who 
were distracted, during the test. Principal Shelton, Tiffonia Lamar- Sanders and Cheryl Dumas 
pulled those students out of class later that day and gave them additional time to complete the 
test. None of those students had an Individualized Education Plan. 

Prior to testing, Williams' team created a list of lower achieving students and provided it 
to Principal Shelton. Shelton then had these students tested in small groups. These students did 
not have an Individualized Education Plan either. 

5. Amanda Lynch (Teacher) 

During the 2009 CRCT, Daniela Vassan told Amanda Lynch that she suspected Weems 
had changed Vassan' s students 5 test answers. Lynch told Vassan to report it to Shelton. Vassan 
later told Lynch she reported it to Principal Shelton and he changed the answers back to the 
original answers. 

Lynch was surprised by one student's high test scores because he did not know all of his 
letter sounds. He passed the reading portion of the test. 

Principal Shelton pulled students from Lynch's class for small group testing. Lynch 
selected which students would most benefit from this environment. Typically, those were 
students who had behavior problems. On one occasion, Shelton pulled a student from her class 
after the testing period was over and allowed the girl to retake the test. He explained to Lynch 
that this student did not perform well, so he was going to re-administer a section of the test to 
her. Lynch denied changing any answers. 

6. Cheryl Dumas (Teacher) 

During the 2009 CRCT, Cheryl Dumas administered the test to a small group of eight to 
ten fourth grade girls. Teachers selected which students should be tested away from their peers. 
No monitor was present during these sessions. 

7. Car la Brice Ross (Testing Coordinator) 

Carla Ross denied any knowledge of cheating. She became visibly upset when 
confronted with the statistical results of the wrong -to-right erasure analysis. Ross said that 
teachers for third, fourth and fifth grades were not supposed to clean up stray marks since the 
students were required to do so before turning in the tests. 

8. Daniela Vassan (Teacher) 

The 2008-2009 school year was Daniela Vassan' s first year in APS. During the 2009 
CRCT, Vassan witnessed cheating. During the testing week, Vassan returned her tests to the 
parent center at the end of the day. She noticed that a student left a question blank on the 
section. Weems looked up the problem in the test booklet, solved it, and told Vassan the correct 
answer to bubble in. Vassan refused, so Weems filled in the answer on the student's answer 



121 



sheet herself. Vassan retrieved the answer sheet from Weems and erased the answer Weems 
fmpVoperly marked. She then turned in her tests and left the parent center. 

Two hours later Weems and Osufuhane were still in the parent cen ter. V^an went to 

as she had left them. 

Vassan reported the situation to Principal Shelton. Shelton pulled the test documents of 

Academy. Briscoe filed an 0.1R report. 

At .he end of ..oh « day, Pnncif.1 Sholton -tod V»» how b. »££"J£f££ 

group. Those students did not have an 1EP. 



9. Taw anna Rohertson (Teacher) 
Tawanna Robertson believed mat her fourth graders' prior test scores ^^f ^} 

be rather than harp on what they did not know. 

of her class for "small group testing" with himself or Cheryl Dumas. 
10. T.esma Watkis (Teacher} 

T esma Watkis taught at Cook from 2001 until 2010. During the 2009 CRCT Principal 
Shelton pX!evS S o?dght students out of her class for "behavioral issues" and tested them m 
small groups, 

Shelton also tested certain third and fifth graders in small groups. This "small group 
testing" octu^ed in the afternoon, after the normal testing period ended, m a classroom with the 
door closed and the window covered with paper. 

In addition to pulling "behavioral students," Terri Smith, a subsume teacher who assisted 
with me CRCnsked Watkis for a student who performed well in math to be pulled out at the 



122 



same time. Watkis only administered the 2009 CRCT to ten or eleven students, but the erasure 
analysis flagged a classroom of 20 students, 

Watkis believed that cheating occurred on the CRCT because some students who passed 
the CRCT were not functioning on their grade level and failed in class. These students 
performed poorly on diagnostic tests (benchmark tests), but performed well in reading and math 
on the CRCT. Osmond, Dye, Reimnitz and Robertson expressed their concern about this 
inconsistency to Watkis as well. Watkis told her concerns to Principal Shelton, explaining that 
her students especially struggled with reading. The very same students that Watkis informed 
Shelton were struggling in reading ended up being the students Shelton pulled for small group 
testing. Watkis is only flagged in one class - reading. 

Principal Shelton ridiculed teachers whose students did not perform well on the CRCT. 
When CRCT scores came out, Shelton publicly singled out teachers in a meeting and told them 
they did not need to be at Cook if their students did not perform better. Teachers could be placed 
on a PDP or lose their jobs for poor student performance. 

Just prior to testing, Principal Shelton held a meeting in the auditorium and reiterated that 
the teachers were expected to do "everything possible" to ensure the students passed. Some 
teachers expressed concern to Watkis that they felt that Shelton wanted them to cheat in order for 
the students to pass. 

II. Nancy Milledge (Teacher at Best Academy) 

Nancy Milledge was a teacher at Best Academy during 2009-2010 school years where 
LaPauL Shelton is currently the Principal, Milledge reported that during the 2009-2010 CRCT, 
Principal Shelton pulled students for small group testing under the guise of "behavioral issues." 
Milledge reported this as a testing problem during the 2009-2010 year because she believed it 
was disruptive when Principal Shelton came into the classroom to pull out students during 
testing. She knew those students were tested elsewhere. 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. LaPaul Shelton (Principal) 

Shelton became Principal at Cook in the 2004-2005 school year. He confirmed that he 
put pressure on the teachers to meet APS targets. 

Shelton denied any knowledge of, or participation in, cheating or violations reported to 
him with regard to the CRCT. He claimed he could not recall Daniela Vassan coming to him 
with concerns that her students' test answers had been changed by Deborah Weems. He could 
not recall erasing those students' answers and changing them back to the original answers as 
marked in the students' test booklets. He also did not recall pulling a student from Amanda 
Lynch' s class to be re -tested. 

Principal Shelton stated that he tested students in small groups who came to school late or 
were absent during testing. He initially denied pulling students who were "behavioral 
problems," but ultimately admitted that he tested some of these students in small groups. He 



123 



chose these students based upon data, performance and the recommendation of the teacher. 
Shelton admitted to asking teachers for a list of students who were not performing well, but 
explained that he used that list to determine which students needed individual attention 
throughout the year. 

Shelton also admitted that teachers reported to him that some students were not 
performing in class at the same high level they performed on the CRCT, but he explained it was 
due to a "high mobility rate" at Cook. 

When confronted with the erasure analysis data, he reluctantly admitted that cheating was 
one explanation. 

E. Other Evidence 

• Tn 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and 2008-2009, Cook met AYP. 

• In 2010, after Principal Shelton was transferred to Best Academy, Cook 
did not meet AYP. 

• In 2010, after Principal Shelton was transferred to Best Academy, the 
classes flagged at Cook for wrong- to-right erasures dropped dramatically 
from 40.7% to 5%. 

• At Best Academy, where APS transferred Shelton, the percent of classes 
flagged increased from 3.9% in 2009 to 19.4% in 2010, with Shelton as 
Principal. Best was the only school in the district that increased its 
percentage of classes flagged in 2010 by double digits. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Principal Shelton cheated by pulling students for small group testing 
who were not entitled to accommodations. Cheryl Dumas and Terri Smith assisted Principal 
Shelton in his cheating scheme. Deborah Weems and Kwabena Osufuhane cheated on the 
CRCT by erasing and changing student answers for their class as well as other classes. Principal 
Shelton knew Weems erased and changed answers but took no action. The cheating occurred in 
2008 and 2009. 

Although no direct evidence exists that Dr. Carla Ross, the testing coordinator, knew of 
or condoned cheating, we conclude that Dr. Ross failed to follow testing protocols, and thereby 
allowed cheating to occur. 

Tt is our conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this 
investigation, that Principal Shelton failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately 
supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and he is responsible for, 
falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



124 



WOODSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1605 Donald Lee HolLowell Pkwy. NE Principal: Dr. Viola Blackshear SRT-4 Executive Director: Taniara Cotmaa 

Atlanta, GA 303 1 8 Testing Coordinator: Ketchia Smith 

L TNVESTTGA TTVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Woodson Elementary in 2009. Fifty -five people were 
interviewed at this school, some more than once. Two teachers confessed to cheating. Cheating 
at Woodson is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, confessions, witness 
testimony, and Principal Viola Blackshear' s refusal to answer our questions. Principal Viola 
Blackshear answered our questions during her first interview, but during her second interview, 
she refused to answer questions and instead asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self- 
incrimination. Principal Viola Blackshear failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 



n. STATISTICAL DATA 

A. 2009 vs. 2010 





200!) 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


63 3 


15.7 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


38 


10 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


16(13) 


4(3) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from Stale Norm 


7.9 


6.6 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


15.8 


10.8 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.4 


3.2 



125 



B. Fla gged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


^•mrljiril 


Taut 

l est. 


Dcvhition 


. — 

GAMBLE 


1 MA 


4.27-1325147 


LADIPO 


1 »n 

1 C\ 1 J 


6. 9968252 12 


LADIPO 


1 T A 


9.8O202430X 


LADTPO 


1 MA 


5.006408649 


PICKETT 


1 RD 


7.614992557 


, PICKETT 


1 T A 


15.73260912 


PICKETT 


1 MA 


13,41230842 


SMITH 


1 T A 


4.13289QG62 


smith 


1 MA 


4.547985923 


DANIELS 


1 RD 


6398818908 


DANIELS 


OTA 


3 999849742 


DANIELS 


1 MA 


4.811222851 


KING 


2 RD 


3.866378599 


I .Eli DAVIS 


Z 1V1A 


4.948431478 


KIRKLAND 


•l DT~i 
j KJJ 


1 1.40088789 


KIRKLAND 


3 LA 


8.725414963 


STARKS 


J ISAJ 


5 867326539 


1 STARKS 


1 T A 


5.329997169 


ST ARKS 


J M/V 


6.674076464 


WOODSON 


.) 1VL/ 


12.82810116 


WOODSON 


1 T A 
J L.A 


9.748608194 


WOODSON 


IMA 
.7 MA 


12-82614325 


BAUGH 




6 73483161 


BAXJGH 


A I A 


4.886074383 


BATJ0H 


4 MA 


5.760674426 


COLEMAN 


4 LA 


4.603220731 


COLEMAN 


4 MA 


j 4.170944435 


STROZIER 


4RD 


15.55542851 


STROZIER 


4 LA 


15.83102627 


STROZIER 


4 MA 


10.45287493 


JOHNSON 


5 RD 


10.58464209 


JOHNSON 


5 LA 


4.995338884 


JOHNSON 


5 MA 


15.43702794 


MOSS 


5 RD 


3.393715479 


MOSS 


5 I A 


8.918834018 


MOSS 


5 MA 


6.5850891 03 


WARTHEN 


5 RD 


8-999403937 


WARTHEN 


5 LA 


6.008572654 



HI. SUMMARY OE EVIDENCE 

A. Overvi ew 

There are several significant facts which point to the conclusion that Woodson 
Elementary School was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately 
reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 63.3% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only 13 schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only two had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Woodson Elementary School. 



126 



Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
significantly from 63.3% to 15.7%. 

Fourth, of the 38 flagged classrooms at Woodson, 26 (68% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and ten classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations, the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Woodson. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Woodson, 87.8% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
63.3% of the total classrooms in the school. 

Last, two teachers admitted to prompting students to erase and change answers during the 
administration of the 2009 CRCT. Testing Coordinator Dixon instructed teachers to seat 
students strategically so students could copy one another's work on the CRCT. Principal 
Blackshear refused to answer questions about cheating at Woodson and asserted her Fifth 
Amendment right to remain silent in response to every question. A copy of the questions 
Principal Blackshear refused to answer is included as Attachment A. 

B. Narrative 

Principal Viola Blackshear is the principal at Woodson. Prior to the 2009 CRCT, 
Woodson made AYP, but failed to meet targets. As a result, Dr. Blackshear was on a PDP at the 
time of the 2009 CRCT. 

In 2009, teachers cheated on the CRCT at Woodson by using non-verbal signals to assist 
students, or strategically seated students so that they could cheat off of each other One teacher 
cheated at the suggestion of Instructional Liaison Specialist Debra Dixon. Dixon, as well as 
Testing Coordinator Ketchia Smith and Principal Viola Blackshear, denied knowledge of or 
participation in cheating. 

No one at Woodson confessed to erasing or changing answers, but two teachers 
confessed to cheating in other ways. However, when Principal Blackshear was interviewed, she 
asserted her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in response to every question, 
including specific questions about whether she erased and changed answer documents. It is 
undisputed that Dr. Blackshear had twenty-four hour access to the tests and habitually stayed at 
the school after hours. 

Throughout the school year and in the weeks leading up to the CRCT, Principal 
Blackshear and Dixon tracked how the teachers expected each student to perform on the CRCT - 
meets, exceeds, or not meets. Teachers used these "projection sheets" to determine where to 
focus instruction for each student. Administrators used these "projection sheets" to determine if 
the school would make AYP or targets. The erasure analysis data reveals a correlation in some 
flagged classes between students on a teacher's "not meets" list and the students with the highest 
number of wrong- to -right erasures. 



127 



C. Testimony of Witnesses 



1. Deloris Pickett (Teacher) 

Deloris Pickett worked in APS for 41 years and retired after the 2008-2009 school year. 
Initially, Pickett denied doing anything to contribute to the high volume of erasures on her 
students' test documents, but ultimately admitted that she may have frowned or looked at 
students with displeasure when they missed questions. Pickett believed her actions likely caused 
the students to erase and change their answers. 

2. Ashlyn Strozier (Teacher) 

Ashlyn Strozier admitted to cheating on the 2009 CRCT by seating students so that 
students with the same test form could cheat off of each other's test. Debra Dixon suggested that 
the teachers strategize and seat the students so that they could cheat off of one another's paper. 
Strozier also admitted to prompting students by giving them a certain look when she saw them 
missing questions. Strozier knew that Celesia Baugh also seated her students strategically 
because they discussed it. 

To assist the teachers in reaching targets and AYP, the teachers were required to prepare 
projection sheets that reflect which students the teacher expected would meet, exceed or not meet 
expectations on the CRCT. The teachers prepared this data several times a year. The most 
recent set of "projections" would be aimed over to the administrators approximately six weeks 
before the CRCT. The school administrators also used these projections to determine if the 
school would make AYP and targets. 

The 2008-2009 school year was Strozier' s first year at Woodson, but she quickly noticed 
that her students' performance in class did not match their passing CRCT scores from the prior 
year. Strozier believed her students' scores had been inflated. Two particular students exceeded 
in reading and language arts on the CRCT in the third grade, but when Strozier taught them in 
fourth grade, she had to tutor them because they could not read. Strozier had several students 
who passed certain subjects on the CRCT that should not have. She especially questioned one 
student's scores in reading and language arts when the student could not read. 

In 2010, Strozier informed Principal Blackshear that her students' previous CRCT scores 
had been inflated because there was no way the students in her class achieved the test results 
reflected from the previous year. Principal Blackshear told her she did not know what happened. 

When the news broke about the 2009 CRCT erasure analysis, Principal Blackshear held a 
meeting with the teachers to "calm them down 77 . During that meeting, Principal Blackshear 
warned teachers to be careful what they said to people outside of the school. Principal 
Blackshear reminded the teachers that the tests were kept in a secure area in her office, which 
was a vault, and that she knew, and the teachers knew, that she did not touch any of the tests. 
She also reminded the teachers that she instructed them during the week of testing to leave the 
school as soon as school ended, and that they were not allowed to report to the school on 
weekends during the testing window. Principal Blackshear stressed the importance of knowing 
the testing rules and reminded the teachers of the process of elimination testing strategies used at 



128 



Woodson. Strozier interpreted the meeting by Blackshear as an opportunity for Blackshear to 
prepare the teachers for any upcoming interviews. 

Principal Blackshear is now on a PDP for having low test scores for a third year in a row. 

3. Jeannie Collins {Front O ffice Staff} 

Only Principal Blackshear, Ms. Crawford (secretary), Testing Coordinator Ketchia 
Smith, Brandon Green (paraprofessional) and Collins have alarm codes to the building. 

4. Edi th Ladipo {Teacher) 

Edith Ladipo provided a list of students to 1LS Dixon that delineated which students > she 
believed would fail the CRCT. Ladipo recalled being shocked that one of her students passed 

On the morning of the day Ladipo was subpoenaed for an interview by the GBI, Principal 
Blacker provided Ladipo wim a list of her students from ^^^^ 
document reflected how her students had performed on the CRCT. Ladipo confirmed that 
Principal Blackshear was aware that Ladipo was to be interviewed the same day. 

5. Brandon Green (Parapr ofessional) 

Brandon Green assisted with after school programs and Saturday school During the 
CRCT he was a hallway monitor. Due to his weekend responsibilities, he had 24 hour key card 
access: During the CRCT, Principal Blackshear told him not to come to the school on weekends 
or let anyone else into the school. 

Green typically reported to work between 6:30 a.m. and 6:45 a.m Jeannie Collins 
Principal SacSear and Ketchia Smith also arrive around 6:30 a.m. Debra D.xon wou.d arrive 
around 7:30 a.m. 

Principal Blackshear often stayed late in the evening to work, but Green did not recall if 
he saw anyone staying late during the 2009 testing window. 

6. Ketchia Smith (Testins Coo rdinator) 

Ketchia Smith does not believe any cheating occurred at Woodson. Smith ^ worked 
with Prinrinal Blackshear for five or six years and has been the testing coordinator s.nce 2002 
mI X "e P poSc^ 1 alleging cheating in APS, Principal Blackshear held J «j ft 
the staff Smith believed the purpose of the meeting was to encourage teachers «la™ the 
students Smith does not recall Principal Blackshear reminding the teachers that he tests we,c 
kept Tn a vaSt that she made them leave at the end of each day, that she did not allow anyone at 
Koolon weekends during testing, that Principa. Blackshear did not ^*^J*£ 
or that teachers should refresh their memory on testmg procedures. Smith confirmed that 
Principal Blackshear talked about testing strategies during that meeting. 



129 



Smith was not aware that Principal Blackshear met with teachers and provided them with 
students' CRCT data prior to the teachers appearing for our interviews. Smith said it would be 
unusual for Blackshear to provide this information. 

During the 2009 CRCT, teachers picked up their test at 7:45 a.m. Smith conceded this 
early pickup meant that the teachers had the tests in their possession an hour and fifteen minutes 
before testing began, but Smith denied suggesting the teachers do anything unethical with the 
tests. The teachers were not allowed to erase stray marks without being monitored. Smith stored 
the test documents in Principal Blackshear' s conference room overnight. Smith and Principal 
Blackshear were the only people with keys to the conference room where the tests were stored. 
Principal Blackshear had 24 hour access to the building, but Smith was unsure of whether she 
had limits on her card. She left the school each day at 3:00 p.m. 

Smith denied participating in, or having knowledge of, cheating or testing irregularities. 
She could not explain the high number of wrong-to-right erasures for many students. 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Dr. Viola Blackshear (Principal) 

When confronted by the GBI about meeting with teachers in advance of their interviews, 
Blackshear denied providing teachers with CRCT data analysis for the purpose of assisting them 
in interviews. She stated that several teachers approached her after their interviews with the GBI 
and asked for their data. Blackshear prepared the CRCT data analysis because she needed to 
justify the drop in test scores to her Executive Director, Tamara Cotman. Blackshear attributed 
the drop in scores to new programs in reading and math. 

When interviewed by the GBI, Principal Blackshear denied knowledge of, or 
participating in, cheating. However, when we interviewed her, Principal Blackshear refused to 
answer questions and asserted her Fifth Amendment rights to all questions asked. 

2. Celesia Bough (Teacher) 

Celesia Baugh denied cheating. She further denied seating students in a particular order 
or being instructed to do so. However, Baugh explained that the high numbers of wrong-to-right 
erasures must be a result of someone altering the tests. Although students do erase, Baugh does 
not believe that her students erased to the degree shown by the erasure analysis. 

Baugh recalls Principal Blackshear telling teachers she believed the investigation to be a 
"witch hunt" and that innocent people would get hurt. Blackshear stated she was glad that 
everyone left school on time during test week. Blackshear mentioned certain common sense 
things during that meeting that did not need to be pointed out. For example, Principal 
Blackshear mentioned that the tests were locked up and then discussed the testing strategies used 
at Woodson - the process of elimination and marking C as a placeholder if a student wanted to 
skip a question and come back to it, 

Baugh confirmed that she provided projection sheets to Principal Blackshear and Dixon 
in the weeks leading up to the CRCT. 



130 



3. Debra Dixon {Instructional Liaison Specialist) 



Debra Dixon was the Instructional Liaison Specialist at Woodson from 2005 until 
November 2010 when she became the interim Principal at Usher Elementary. While at 
Woodson, Dixon assisted with the CRCT as a hall monitor and as a classroom proctor for new or 
struggling teachers. 

During the 2009 CRCT, the materials were stored in the conference room next to 
Principal Blackshear's office. Smith and Principal Blackshear had access to that room. 
Blackshear had 24 hour access to the building. She requested that everyone leave the school 
after administering the CRCT and that no one remain in the building after Blackshear left. 

Dixon denied advising faculty to "do what they needed to do" to make targets. 

E. Other Evidence 

• In the 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and 2008-2009 school years, Woodson met 
AYP. 

• In 2010, Woodson did not make AYP. 

• Principal Viola Blackshear was on a PDP in 2008-2009 for not meeting 
APS targets. 

• In some classes a correlation exists between students categorized by 
teachers on projection sheets as "not meets" and students with the highest 
erasures. 

• A correlation exists between students who were "prompted" or assisted by 
a teacher on the CRCT and students identified by the erasure analysis as 
having the highest number of erasures. 

• In some classes where teachers denied cheating, student data reveals that a 
large number of students' answers were changed from wrong to right at a 
70-100% success rate. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Delores Pickett, Celesia Bough and Ashlyn Strozier cheated on the 
2009 CRCT. While other teachers denied assisting their students, based upon the statistical 
improbability of even the lowest standard deviations in the flagged classes, we conclude that 
other teachers likely prompted students in their classes as well, but were not truthful during this 
investigation. 

We also conclude that Testing Coordinator Dixon cheated by instructing teachers to seat 
students strategically so the students could copy one another's work during the CRCT, 



131 



Principal Blackshear failed in her ultimate responsibility for testing activities and for 
ensuring the ethical administration of and proper security for the 2009 CRCT. We conclude 
from the statistical data and other evidence secured in this investigation that Principal Viola 
Blackshear failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT and adequately supervise testing activities 
and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting, or 
erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



VIOLA BLACKSHKAR 

You have information concerning cheating at your school on the 2009 CRCT test, don't 
you? 

You are refusing to provide these investigators with that information, aren't you? 

You directed school employees to cheat on the 2009 CRCT, didn't you? 

You coordinated cheating on the 2009 CRCT at your school, didn't you? 

You facilitated the ability of school employees to cheat on the 2009 CRCT test, right? 

You knew that school employees were cheating on the 2009 CRCT, didn't you? 

You knew that teachers were providing student's with answers to the 2009 CRCT, didn't 
you? 

You changed student's answers on the 2009 CRCT test, didn't you? 

You did not report violations of testing protocol as you were required to do by Georgia 
law, did you? 

In 2009, you were entrusted with ensuring that school employees act ethically? 
Cheating is unethical isn't it? 

You instructed your teachers to cheat on the 2009 CRCT didn't you? 

You pressured your teachers to cheat on the 2009 CRCT didn't you? 

You accepted bonus money from APS based on test scores you knew to be false? 

Your school accepted federal money based in part on test scores you knew to be false? 

By cheating on the CRCT you denied the State of Georgia an accurate assessment of your 
student's academic performance? 

By cheating CRCT you denied the parents of your* students an accurate assessment of 
their children's academic performance? 

By cheating on the CRCT, you denied the children in your care an accurate assessment of 
their own academic performance. 



133 



SCOTT ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 

1 752 Hollywood Road ITincipnl: Roxianno Smith SRT-4 Kxccutivc Director: Tamara Colraan 

Atlanln, Georgia 303 1 S Testing Coordinator: Dr. Juauessa Booker 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Scott Elementary in 2009. Forty-six people were 
interviewed at this school, some more than once. Cheating at Scott is evidenced by a high 
number of flagged classrooms and by witness testimony. Principal Roxianne Smith failed to 
properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flogged for WTR Erasures 


68 


1.4 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


51 


1 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


19(17) 


1(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from Stale Norm 


12.1 


3.2 


High Flogged Standard Deviation 


20.2 


3.2 




3.4 


3.2 



134 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 
Tret 


Stand ai d 
Deviation 


BLACK 


1 LA 


4.826004496 


NARCISSE 


1 RD 


3,474138687 


SMITH 


1 LA 


7.690591885 


SMITH 


IMA 


6.070464107 


DORSEY 


2 LA 


6.97266 013 


DORSEY 


2 MA 


15.4142974 


GREEN 


2 RD 


8.746386998 


GREEN 


2 LA 


6464641216 


GREEN 


2 MA 


5.017181495 


HARRIS 


2 RD 


6.574296329 


HARRIS 


2 LA 


11.59803391 


HARRIS 


2 MA 


16 56563092 


WORLDS 


2 RD 


11.3504833 


WORLDS 


2 LA 


15.95132699 


WORLDS 


2 MA 


13.68729712 


GONGLEFSKI 


3RD 


20 28051075 


GONGLEFSKI 


3 LA 


6.42235 5453 


GONGLEFSKI 


3 MA 


15.066-17269 


RUCKER 


3RD 


19.43475948 


RUCKER 


3 LA 


9.856691098 


RUCKER 


3 MA 


16.49481446 


OUACKENBUSH 


3RD 


16,53018878 


QUACKENBUSH 


3 LA 


9.6270.92713 


QUACKENBUSH 


3 MA 


17.8510615 


HINES 


3 RD 


15.39361764 


HINES 


3 LA 


8.938297558 


HINES 


3 MA 


13.29794642 


MCNABB 


4RD 


11.59287424 


MCNABB 


4 LA 


12.79366698 


MCNABB 


4 MA 


9.484797502 


HARVEY 


4 RD 


15.01810238 


HARVEY 


4 LA 


16.4742188 


HARVEY 


4 MA 


16.918895 


YOUNG 


4 RD 


15.922633 


YOUNG 


4 LA 


13.05905558 


YOUNG 


4 MA 


16.74915896 


CARTER 


4RD 


15.57551544 


CARTER 


4 LA 


13.95805355 


CARTER 


4 MA 


15.74959352 


GRAVES 


5 RD 


14.695952'! 8 


GRAVES 


5 LA 


5.226172536 


GRAVES 


5 MA 


14.9440121 


LAMORTE 


5 RD 


7 244467584 


LAMORTE 


5 LA 


5,178221109 


LAMORTE 


5 MA 


5.100796052 


JOHNSON 


5 RD 


16.12806351 


JOHNSON 


5 LA 


8.327324423 ! 


JOHNSON 


5 MA 


14.08356504 


SAN' HAGUE 


5 RD 


17.03215583 


SANTIAGUE 


5 LA 


13.29241273 


SANTIAGUE 


5 MA 


14.41592043 



ILL SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Scott Elementary School was 
not managed in a way to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported to the State 
Department of Education. 



135 



First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 68% for the 2009 CRCT. There were only 
nine schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT 
only one school had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Scott. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
from 68% to 1.4%. 

Fourth, of the 51 flagged classrooms at Scott, 49 (96% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and 32 classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at Scott. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to -right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Scott, 93% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 68% of 
the total classrooms in the school. 

Finally, test security was lax at Scott. People were allowed to come in and out of the 
testing coordinator's office while the CRCT materials were inside, and black paper covered the 
window in the door. 

B. Narrative 

Principal Smith and Dr. Juanessa Booker had access to the CRCT materials. The tests 
were stored overnight in a locked closet in Smith's office. Dr. Booker took the tests to her office 
during the day for distribution and collection. The tests remained in Dr. Booker's office 
throughout the day after testing ended. A teacher testified that the paraprofessional assigned to 
her classroom, Letrecia Walker, admitted to changing answers in Booker's office at Principal 
Smith's direction. 

Booker's cousin, Antwan Joseph, was the math coach at Scott and was observed in 
Booker's office where the tests were accessible during testing week. Several witnesses reported 
that the window in Booker's door was covered with black paper during the 2009 CRCT. 

APS received anonymous calls in February 2010 reporting cheating at Scott during 2009 
and other years. One caller reported that tests were erased and changed in Dr. Booker's office in 
2009 and that her window was covered with paper. Another caller reported that in 2008 and 
2009, teachers covered their doors with paper during CRCT testing. In April 2010, APS hired 
attorney Penn Payne, to conduct an external investigation into the charges at the same time the 
Blue Ribbon Commission was investigating Scott and other schools flagged by GOSA. Payne 
interviewed eight people, including Booker and Principal Smith, who denied knowledge of 
cheating and denied that any windows were covered with paper. Payne's report, issued on May 
25, 2010, concluded that the anonymous tips were unsubstantiated. 



136 



C. Testimony of Witnesses 

I EdwinaMowjiie Browne 
Monique Browne was a special education teacher at Scott in 2009 She ^stated m her 

WSSi'S Tlg Coofdinltor Juanessa Booker, and math coach 
Ant™ Wnh Principal Smith had access to the tests because they were secured in her office 
^StiSSN^ to the tests because teachers picked them up and returned 
tienuo Booker's office. People came in and out of Booker's office dunng test week. 

Browne stated she felt undue pressure by administrators to get students to score higher 
on the C r27 She was surprised that her students scored so high on the test, and sard that thrrd 
grade teachers were also surprised by their students' performance. 

Browne said the general discussion around school was that there was cheating and that it 
came from the "top down." 

2. C ynthia Butler (Teacher) 

Cvnthia Butler testified that she saw black paper placed over the window in Booker's 
door Math coach Anlwa«> Joseph and Juanessa Booker are cousins. Joseph was in Booker s 
&^«SSS S Buder stated that any cheating would have been done by 
administrators because teachers had no time or opportunity to change answers. 

3. A pril. Graves (Teacher) 

Aoril Graves was a fifth grade teacher in 2009. She was flagged in all three subjects and 
stated m LTdTd nr witness her students making the amount of erasures mdtcated by the 
GOSA data. 

4. Darin Johns on (Teacher) 

Darin Johnson, a fifth grade teacher flagged in all subjects, stated f^ ^^ 
CRCT who typically performed poorly throughout the year and on other tests. Student who 
52 ltd and did'not turn in homework passed the CRCT. Johnson stated that one student 
considered "mediocre" had one of the highest wrong-to-nght erasure counts. 

5. Rrmita Dors av (Teacher) 

Bonita Dorsey, a flagged second grade teacher, stated that she did not believe her 
students erased as much as the GSOA data indicates. 

6. Stncev Carter (Teacher) 

Stacev Carter heard of cheating at Scott. She denied cheating and did not know of 
anyone who cheated, but believed something must have happened to produce the data reported. 



137 



7. Lorrae Walker (Teacher) 



Lorrae Walker was a teacher at Scott in 2009 who tested three students requiring special 
accommodations. Walker said it was inconceivable that they could have managed to change so 
many answers from wrong to right without intervention, as one student could not read and the 
others were not high functioning. Walker believes cheating occurred at Scott even though the 
cheaters did not manage to have Scott meet targets. Walker had no direct knowledge but 
believes administrators were most likely involved in the cheating. 

8. Etoile Green (Teacher) 

Etoile Green saw Antwan Joseph in Juanessa Booker's office where tests were kept. 
Green recalled being very surprised by her students' high scores. 

9. Liza Williams (Teacher) 

Liza Williams saw black paper over the window of Juanessa Booker's door during testing 
week. She stated that Booker, Principal Smith, Antwan Joseph, and Letrecia Walker were a 
close-knit group. 

10. Erin Quachenhush (Teacher) 

Erin Quackenbush had no direct evidence but believes the answers were changed by 
Booker because she had access to the tests. 

11. Tonette Hunter (Teacher 's Assistant) 

Tonette Hunter was a teacher's assistant at Scott in 2007. Hunter served as a proctor 
during the 2007 CRCT. She stated that on the Thursday or Friday before the CRCT was to 
begin, Principal Roxianne Smith held a meeting with Ms. Hunter and other teacher's assistants 
and parapros Smith told them that they needed to "do all they could to make sure the children 
pass" the CRCT. As she spoke, Principal Smith demonstrated her point by walking among the 
group, looking over their shoulders, and pointing down as if pointing out answers. After the 
meeting, Hunter said to Smith, "Well, this is not going to help the children." Principal Smith 
replied that Hunter would not be helping her salary if she did not cooperate. Smith also told 
Hunter, "You're overstepping your boundaries" 

Hunter testified that she did not participate in prompting or assisting students during the 
test administration. After the CRCT concluded, Principal Smith asked Hunter how the testing 
went. Hunter told her, "I don't know, you're going to have to wait for your results." 

A week after the CRCT, Hunter telephoned SRT Executive Director Tamara Cotman to 
report Principal Smith's directive to prompt students during testing, and other concerns she had 
about the school. The next day Cotman arrived at Scott and called Hunter into a meeting with 
Principal Smith. Cotman told Hunter that if she "did not keep her mouth shut" and kept causing 
problems at Scott, "you will be gone." Hunter then went to see Dr. Beverly Hall to discuss the 
cheating allegations and other concerns, but could not get an appointment. A woman from Dr. 
Hall's office met with Hunter in the lobby and listened to her, but took no notes during the 



138 



meeting. Hunter felt that she was being treated as if she were a "problem employee." She heard 
nothing from the Superintendent's office in response to her report. Hunter subsequently spoke to 
Atlanta School Board member LaChandra Butler Burks about the incidents at Scott Elementary, 
but Ms. Butler Burks did not respond as promised. In June 2010, during the Blue Ribbon 
Commission's investigation, Hunter reported the 2007 CRCT cheating allegations to the APS 
hotline. A copy of Hunter's hotline complaint is included as Attachment A 

Ms. Hunter was fired in May 2007, allegedly for attendance issues, although Hunter 
contends her termination was in retaliation for her complaints about cheating and other matters 
she reported about Scott Elementary. 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicat ed 

L Roxianne Smith (Principal) 

Roxianne Smith came to Scott as principal in 2006-2007. She deferred to Juanessa 
Booker's experience as testing coordinator and took a hands-off role other than monitoring the 
halls. The tests were locked in Principal Smith's office overnight, and Booker took them to her 
office daily for distribution. The tests remained in Booker's office during the day "because 
that's the way it was done" before Principal Smith came to Scott. She did not recall whether 
there was paper covering the window of Booker's door, and was unsure whether it was 
permissible. Principal Smith claimed no knowledge of people gathering in Booker's office with 
the tests and erasing answers. She also stated that if anyone said that Letrecia Walker changed 
answers at her direction, they were lying. 

Principal Smith was interviewed by Penn Payne concerning testing irregularities at Scott 
in 2009. Payne did not inform her of the specific allegations and Smith did not inquire into the 
details of the accusation. When the report of Payne's investigation was made public, Smith 
made no attempt to obtain a copy. She did not recall whether she spoke with Booker about 
Payne's investigation and did not recall asking Booker whether she had been interviewed. 

Scott Elementary School did not meet targets under Principal Smith's leadership. She 
"did not know" if she felt pressure to meet targets or whether her job could be in jeopardy, 
although she was placed on a PDP twice, in part for failure to meet targets. She was evasive 
when asked if she had spoken with anyone about this investigation, and reluctant to name those 
to whom she had spoken. 

Smith denied that she directed Juanessa Booker to change answers. She was not aware if 
teachers had the opportunity to change answers in the classrooms. When asked repeatedly if she 
believed students had made the erasures on their own, she only stated each time that they were 
the people "who had pencils and erasers" during the test. 

2. Letrecia Walker (Paraprofessional) 

Letrecia Walker was a paraprofessional for Monique Browne. She denied that she 
changed answers at Principal Smith's direction and denied being in Juanessa Booker's office 
with the tests. She heard that Booker's door was covered with black paper. 



139 



Letrecia Walker stated that Principal Smith called teachers and paraprofessionals 
separately into her office after learning about the flagged classes. Smith questioned her about the 
testing and she felt that Smith was trying to intimidate her. 

3. Dr. Juanessa Booker (Te stin g Coordinator) 

Dr Juanessa Booker was the Instructional Liaison Specialist and Testing Coordinator at 
Scott in 2009 She was aware of allegations she changed answers on the 2009 CRCT and dented 
erasing any answers. Students should have erased stray marks but if tests were turned in with 
stray marks they could be erased by teachers. Booker denied there was paper covering her door 
and denied'she was inside her office with test booklets. Booker claimed the tests were kept 
locked in Principal Smith's office. Both she and Principal Smith had the key. 

Booker denied cheating or knowledge of cheating. She felt the CRCT scores accurately 
reflected the students' performance and was not surprised by the results. 

4. Antwan Joseph (Math Facilitator) 

Antwan Joseph was the math coach at Scott in 2009. Joseph denied cheating on the 
CRCT During the 2009 CRCT, Joseph tested small groups of special education students and 
administered makeup tests. He and Testing Coordinator Juanessa Booker are first cousins and 
worked together previously at Towns Elementary, Joseph, Booker, and reading facilitator 
Cynthia Butler were considered part of Principal Smith's "administrative team." He and Butler 
assisted Booker with distributing and collecting the tests, which Joseph stated were kept in the 
lounge/parent center across the hall From Dr. Booker's office. Joseph thought that the custodian, 
Principal Smith and Dr. Booker had keys to the lounge. He did not recall the window being 
covered with paper and believed that the door to the lounge was usually open. Joseph stated that 
the tests were only in Booker's office when they were initially sorted and when they were packed 
up to go back to the Brewer Center. He did not believe that the tests were stored m the 
principal's office in 2009, but was not certain. 

When asked why people would report that he and Booker were seen together in Booker's 
office during testing, Joseph first stated that it would not be unusual for people to see them 
together because the "administrative team" worked together closely. He did not know why 
anyone would state that he and Booker spent "extra" time together in her office during testing 
because she was very busy. Later Joseph admitted that there were times when he was with 
Booker in her office with the tests. He did not elaborate. He denied that Booker's office window 
was covered with paper. 

Joseph knew there were allegations about cheating at Scott, but did not know the details. 
He was surprised to learn during his interview that his cousin, Dr. Booker, had been investigated 
by Penn Payne concerning the cheating allegations. Although they were "very close," Booker 
had not informed him of the Payne investigation . 

IV, ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Testing Coordinator Juanessa Booker erased and changed student 
answer sheets with Antwan Joseph in her office after testing concluded. Principal Roxianne 



140 



Smith directed others to cheat. We believe teachers and proctors fallowed Principal Smith's 
directive to cheat, but do not have sufficient evidence to determine which teachers. 

Principal Roxianne Smith failed in her responsibility for testing activities and for 
ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for, the 2009 CRCT. It is our 
conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this investigation that 
Principal Smith failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately supervise testing 
activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, 
misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



141 



K**»,imm4 ATUNTAEDUCflT , 0NFI ^ 

®*H:: mmmr Etllics a " d C ^P«ance Reporting 

- J , ■ - - ■•--t- - . General Informal . 



Page I of 2 



CsllerName; TONETTE HUNTER 



r trr;; k:r 114060574 

Bes* Tto. to Ca,.: BETWEEN 3 AM AND 3 PM City.St 3te X ATUNTA GA ' ^ IT^" 

Country; USA f n .' mS ' J" 15P ^ 

Email: lonichumer@hotrnaH.qQrn Phone- i 06 ° al 



WHO: 



WHAT; 



WHEN. 



Summary -friformatinn 

'ftri HnjfiMWP ciiiTLi cr-, 



i 



^TuNh.l It HUNTER, reported H OX ANNE si^rT^ii^^l^ 
Cheating On Standardized Tests 

ONGOING SINCE 03/2007, EXACT DATE UNKNOWN 
AT THE LOCATION 



WHERE: 

^^SSSSS — - — «»* t~ HUNTER feelS « ! 



How does tho caller know about the incident?: WHn esse d — . I 

What documentation is available?: none j 



Reported Individuals 



•' - - -I : -v. •' ; Involved Parties 



Name: BEVERLY HALL 

Title: SUPERINTENDENT | 
— — ■ „ I 



Name: ROXANNE SMITH 
Title; PRINCIPAL 



—H.-4 



Management Notified: NO " 
Involved/Aware Parties : NO 



1 



rr— — — — Supplemental Information 

How d ws t he ca | ter know about hoUjrlfi: ^^^^ ~ — 



Rosier 

Interviewer Observations: 



: 

| 

MditiojTannforrnati on 



Have you reported this incidem to Atlanta Public YES 
Schools, the Atlanta Board of Education, Georgia 
Department of Education or other organization? 

Which ; o rganisation did you rep ort it to? THE OFFICE OF BEVERLY HALL 



GOSA APS AEF EL 01 58 17 



142 



fteporitf 1 14060574 



ATLANTA EDUCATION FUN3 



— — — — — . n< L^TM/l fcUUU/STI 

or clas" Ue y ° UVe reportin9 relatect 10 u s P eci '^ 9^1* NO 

Whai is yuur relationship to iho school or school 
system? (i,g„ parent, teaser, concerned citizen, etc.) 



Page 2 or 2 




Conditions 



Tfatiuf win a company repr^enreiwo 

H0 cOinplDloness thcr 



GOSA„APS_AEF .ELJ>I,1H|« 



143 



DEERWOOD ACADEMY 



3070 Fairtmm Road Principal: Dr. Lisa SraUh SRT- 1 Executive Director !>. Sharon Davis- Williams 

Atlanta, Georgia 3033 1 Testing CoonJinnior: Lavonun t'errcll 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred at Deerwood Academy on the CRCT in 2009 and the summer of 2008. 
Thirty-seven people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. One person 
confessed to cheating on the CRCT in the spring of 2009 and the summer of 2008. Cheating at 
Deerwood is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, confessions, and witness 
testimony. Principal Smith knew of cheating in 2009 and failed to properly monitor the 2009 
CRCT. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


43:8 


8.6 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


43 


7 


Number of Teachers Flogged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


21(15) 


m 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


6.5 


3.8 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


15.3 


4.4 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3 


3.4 



144 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


IrllMiC & 


Stsuulsii'd 




1 CSl 


Dcviutiojt 


1 H J K . n DU L-Kijt 


1 LA 


10,44227521 


TJ"("YD"MT"}T T7 


1 MA 


1 1 3*5407784 


LU VVMAN 


i T?n 




LUW MAN 


1 T A 




1 ,( J W M A IN 


1 \if A 
1 M A 


n.M r Inl Z.OJ 


H10r\/~»\I7T7T T 


1 RD 


4 144£ < j01 

"T. 1 ' 1* 1 O^v X — '-^ 


ML L)\J W C.L.L. 


1 I A 


6.425074404 


~\ .mVyCWllTll T 

MOJJU WJiLjl, 


1 M A 


8 01 £708576 




1 LA 


6.4256246 L 




1 MA 


9,157537747 


PEEK 


1 RD 


3 377749477 


D 1 .' 1 ,' It" 

r J'_.Jj,Jv 


1 LA 


6.53977X922 




1 MA 


10.56596305 




1 MA 


7.425305497 


✓ AI/I TV* 


2 RD 


7.907423342 




2 LA 


13.23261099 




2 MA 


15.25769515 


I'V/KiJ 


2 RD 


6.745223584 




2 MA 


5.508251047 




2 LA 


6.428498378 




2 MA 


3.555562147 


TIT Hi I.' 

riUrr 


2 RD 


4.186202842 


nurr 


2 LA 


3.02748816 


i it nrii' 


2 MA 


4.131228906 


W 1 1 .1 /IAVIVI CI 


2 T .A 


5 340175108 


WIT T 1 AlV/fS 


2 MA 


3.670695498 


dKU w IN 


3 LA 


*5 64631 791 


1_>T) /~»TI/XJ 


1 MA 


3.356460954 


TTYM17C 


3 RD 


6.41558976 


TRICHE 


3 RD 


3.653439181 


MALLORY 


4RD 


13.44280868 


MALLORY 


4 LA 


4.020487133 


MALLORY 


4 MA 


8.110691366 


MCCULLEY 


4RD 


3.067927107 


WIGHT 


4 MA 


4.754356328 


DIGGS 


5 LA 


4.325432673 


FRIEDLAND 


5 RD 


3.988983477 


FRIEDLAND 


5 MA 


4.684581072 


WARMACK 


5 RD 


6.530709212 


WARMACK 


5 LA 


8.598697939 


WARMACK 


5 MA 


5.589028002 


WOODARD 


5 RD 


7.371264749 


WOODARD 


5 LA 


9.676369378 



in. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A Overview 

Several facts point to the conclusion that Deerwood Academy was not managed to ensure 
that CRCT results were accurately reported to the Georgia Department of Education. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 47.8% for the 2009 CRCT. With state 
monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped from 47.8% to 8.6%. 



145 



Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only five schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Deerwood. 

Fourth, of the 43 flagged classrooms at Deerwood, 26 (60% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and six classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that this number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Deerwood. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Deerwood, 70% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for 47.8% 
of the total classrooms in the school. 

Last, teacher Margaret Merkerson says that she and Testing Coordinator Lavonia Ferrell 
changed student answer sheets during the summer 2008 CRCT retest, and the 2009 CRCT. 
Assistant Principal Tabeeka Jordan knew of and approved this cheating in 2008 and 2009. 
Principal Lisa Smith knew of and approved this cheating in 2009. 

B. Narrative 

In July 2008, students from five schools came to Deerwood for the CRCT math retest. 
This was the first year that the summer CRCT scores would count towards AYP. Deerwood 
Assistant Principal Tabeeka Jordan was in charge of testing and asked Lavonia Ferrell to be 
Testing Coordinator. Ferrell asked retired teacher Margaret Merkerson to assist with organizing 
the testing materials. Tabeeka Jordan and Lavonia Ferrell orchestrated a scheme to ensure that 
the school made AYP. Jordan pulled several Deerwood students out of class and had Merkerson 
test them separately, although Merkerson had not been trained to administer the test. After 
testing was over, Ferrell asked Merkerson to assist her in erasing and changing test answer sheets 
of Deerwood students, using the answer keys Ferrell made. The window on the conference room 
door was covered with paper while Ferrell and Merkerson changed answer sheets in the 
conference room adjoining the principal's office. Assistant Principal Jordan came in and out of 
the room and witnessed their actions. 

The results from the summer of 2008 CRCT retest showed improbable gains for 
Deerwood students. This resulted in a state investigation and an investigation done by APS. 

For the 2009 CRCT at Deerwood, Jordan again asked Lavonia Ferrell to serve as testing 
coordinator. Merkerson had a temporary assignment at Deerwood and also assisted Ferrell. 
Merkerson and Ferrell erased and changed student answer sheets in the principal's conference 
room for several days, just as they did in 2008. Ferrell prepared answer keys for various versions 
of the tests. Ferrell sometimes selected answer sheets of students she knew were proficient in 
math to prepare those answer keys. Jordan came in and out of the room and witnessed the 
erasing. Principal Lisa Smith also came in and out from her adjoining office while erasing was 
in progress. 



146 



C. Testimony of Witnesses 



/. Margaret Merkerson (Teacher) 

Margaret Merkerson confessed to cheating on the 2008 and 2009 CRCT. 

Tn 2008, Merkerson was a substitute teacher at Fickett Elementary. Tn July 2008, she was 
asked by Lavonia Ferrell to assist with the administration of the summer 2008 CRCT math retest 
to be given at Deerwood. Ferrell was the testing coordinator at Deerwood. Jordan supervised 
this testing. Working as an unpaid volunteer, Merkerson assisted Ferrell in organizing the tests in 
the conference room that adjoined the principal's office. Ferrell told Merkerson that Jordan 
wanted to ensure Deerwood made AYP. Merkerson and Ferrell sat at the conference room table 
and changed answers from wrong to right, using test keys that Ferrell made. Students from five 
different schools were tested. Merkerson thinks that they only changed answers of Deerwood 
students, but was not certain because Ferrell selected the answer sheets to be changed. A piece 
of paper covered the window on the door that led into the hall. Jordan came in and out of the 
conference room and saw the erasing. Jordan asked Merkerson to administer the test to 
Deerwood students she pulled out of class, although Merkerson had not received the required 
training. Merkerson recalled meeting Principal Smith in summer 2008 when Smith was at the 
school. Smith was not acting as the principal of Deerwood during the summer session. 

In 2009, Merkerson worked at Deerwood as a long-term substitute. During the 2009 
CRCT, she served as a proctor for Mr. Warmack's fifth grade class. She assisted Testing 
Coordinator Lavonia Ferrell in Principal Smith's conference room by erasing and changing 
answer sheets for three or four days, just as they had done the previous summer. Ferrell prepared 
answer keys and the window of the door leading into the hall was covered with paper. Ferrell 
sometimes complained that Merkerson erased "too slowly " The first group of answer sheets 
Merkerson changed were from Warmack's class. She does not think that she or Ferrell changed 
answers of first and second grade students. 

Principal Smith and Jordan were aware of the cheating. Both came in and out of the 
conference room at various times while answers were being erased and changed, The test 
booklets and answer sheets were stacked on the table in plain view. Principal Smith would walk 
in from her office and ask how they were doing, as she grabbed a snack and returned to her 
office. Jordan would come in more often and sometimes stayed and talked awhile. Merkerson 
and Ferrell did not stop erasing when Jordan or Smith came in and did not try to hide the answer 
sheets, which were on the table. 

Merkerson is remorseful for what she did in 2008 and 2009. She was shocked to learn 
after the April 2009 CRCT that an investigation was being launched concerning the results of the 
2008 retest. When attorney Penn Payne began her investigation in June 2009, Merkerson 
received calls from Ferrell and Jordan, who tried to convince her that she had not actually 
administered the test to anyone in summer 2008. 

We monitored several conversations between Margaret Merkerson and Lavonia Ferrell. 
During one discussion, Merkerson told Ferrell that she was thinking about telling the truth to the 
Governor's investigators about being in the room erasing answers with Ferrell. Lavonia Ferrell 



147 



told Merkerson that they had done nothing wrong and warned her not to tell what they had done, 
unless she wanted to be "locked up." In other conversations, Ferrell stated that investigators had 
no evidence. Merkerson asked Ferrell if they should both just tell the truth to which Ferrell 
responded that if they did they might get in trouble for perjury. 

2. Tabitha Martin (Reading Facilitator) 

Tabitha Martin was certain there was cheating on the CRCT because she had access to 
students' test scores and knew that some students who could not read were scoring at high levels. 
The students' scores did not match their classroom performance. She recalled that Jordan was in 
charge of the summer 2008 CRCT testing, and afterward there were a lot of good grades and 
students had vastly improved test scores. She noticed that during testing in 2009, Jordan, Ferrell, 
and Merkerson would stay late. Martin heard some teachers used voice inflection when reading 
questions, and that hand signals were being used. 

Tabitha Martin said the administration knew from the data how many students needed to 
pass the CRCT. Teachers would be told how many students they needed to exceed expectations 
and were asked how many they thought would pass. Teachers were asked how they were going 
to get the students to pass the test. 

3. Kristy McDowell (Teacher) 

Kristy McDowell had a student who could not read. The student passed the reading 
section of the CRCT. She knew other students who should have had lower test scores, 
McDowell denied any involvement in cheating. 

4. Amy Low man (Teacher) 

Amy Lowman recounted discussions of cheating she heard. She heard that Kristy 
McDowell used voice inflection, Zanetta Hornbuckle gave answers, and Betty Jean Peak taught 
students to listen to her pauses for cues. Lowman heard that during the Summer 2008 retest, 
Tabeeka Jordan pulled some Deerwood students out to be tested separately. Lowman was 
shocked that her classes were flagged for high wrong-to-right erasures since her students scored 
so low. 

5. Abigail Currens (Teacher) 

Abigail Currens was an Early Intervention Program teacher in 2009 and taught math and 
reading to fifth graders. Currens heard several discussions of cheating on tests. Students taking 
the ITBS test told her that they had seen the test questions before in Rita Lawrence's class. 

6. Mary Mai lory (Teacher) 

Mary Mallory was a fourth grade teacher in 2009. She was surprised that one particular 
student who typically scored in the 600 range, made over 800 on the CRCT. 



148 



7. Betty Jean Peak 



Betty Jean Peak was a fifth grade teacher at Deerwood in 2008. She stated there were 
students in her class who could not read. She identified specific students who did not pass the 
spring 2008 CRCT and had to attend summer school. Although Peak knew that those students 
did not have the ability to pass the summer 2008 CRCT, they were promoted to sixth grade and 
some passed the CRCT by 2 to 3 points. Peak denied cheating on the CRCT. 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicate d 

1, Lisa Smith (Principal) 

Lisa Smith stated that she saw no cheating at Deerwood and no one reported cheating to 
her. Principal Smith felt that she had been wrongly targeted for cheating during the Summer 
2008 CRCT. She said she was not the principal in residence during the 2008 summer session. 
She felt she had been referred to the Professional Standards Commission as part of a witch hunt. 
Smith was temporarily removed as principal of Deerwood after the 2009 CRCT, but was 
reinstated in June 2010. 

Dr. Smith admitted that paper covered the window in the door of her conference room in 
2008 and 2009. The window was uncovered at the recommendation of the PSC. 

Principal Smith was placed on a PDP in 2008 for low student achievement. She said she 
only told her administrative staff she was on a PDP. She admitted putting Jordan on a PDP in 
2008 but claimed it was for behavioral issues. 

With regard to the CRCT, Principal Smith said that she never touched CRCT materials 
and never went into the classrooms during testing. Smith did not feel pressure to meet targets 
but also did not like the feeling she and her staff experienced at the Convocation when the 
school's targets were not met. Deerwood did not make targets or AYP in 2008, but did make 
AYP in 2009 and 2010. Principal Smith denied ever directing anyone to cheat or change 
answers on the 2009 CRCT, and denied any knowledge or involvement in cheating. She did not 
understand how it would be possible for testing administrators to make answer keys or breach 
the security measures. 

Smith was informed by SRT-1 Executive Director Sharon Davis-Williams in early 2009 
that inquiries were being made into Deerwood' s summer 2008 results. Testing protocols were to 
be tightened for the 2009 CRCT. Principal Smith requested that Ferrell return as the testing 
coordinator. She denied ever seeing anyone erasing and changing answers in her conference 
room. Anyone claiming they changed answers in the conference room was lying. 

2. Lavonia Ferrell (Testing- Coordinator) 

Lavonia Ferrell was questioned about allegations of cheating and testing improprieties on 
the 2008 Summer Retest and 2009 CRCT. She had no information to provide. Ferrell was 
informed that investigators monitored telephone calls between her and others. Investigators 
played a portion of one recording to show her that calls had been recorded. Ferrell reiterated that 
she had no information to provide. 



149 



3. Tabeeka Jordan 



Jordan was suspended from APS from August 2009 until June 2010, and since that time 
has been on medical leave pending hearings into allegations of cheating at Deerwood. Jordan 
denied any cheating or knowledge of cheating at Deerwood during the summer of 2008 and the 
spring of 2009. She denied knowledge of Lavonia Ferrell and Margaret Merkerson erasing and 
changing answers in the principal's conference room during either test administration. She did 
not know how they would have had the opportunity to cheat. Jordan claimed she did not go in 
and out of the conference room except when the tests were being distributed. She stated that if 
she had witnessed erasing she would have questioned what was happening. Jordan admitted that 
Merkerson tested a small group of Deerwood students, but maintained that Merkerson had been 
trained by Ferrell to administer testing. 

Jordan admitted she was friends with Ferrell and Principal Smith, and had spoken with 
both of them concerning their interviews during this investigation. She did not believe that 
Ferrell participated in cheating and believed that Merkerson had "memory problems. 7 ' Anyone 
who claimed that Jordan directed or facilitated cheating was lying. 

E. Other Evidence 

Teachers say they were pressured by Principal Smith to meet targets. Several were placed 
on a PDP for not meeting performance standards. It was important to Principal Smith to "make 
the floor" each year. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Lavonia Ferrell and Margaret Merkerson erased and changed student 
answer sheets during the 2008 summer retest CRCT and the spring 2009 CRCT. Tabeeka Jordan 
directed and witnessed the cheating in 2008 and 2009. Principal Lisa Smith witnessed the 
cheating in 2009. 

It is our conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this 
investigation, that Principal Smith failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately 
supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, 
falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



150 



IIUMPHRIKS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



3029 Humphries Drive Principal: Donald Clark SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts 

Atlanta, Georgia 30354 Testing Coordinator: Christi Davis-Langston 

T. TNVESTTGATTVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Humphries Elementary in 2009 and in other years. 
Fifty people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Two people confessed to 
cheating. Cheating at Humphries is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, 
confessions, witness testimony, and Principal Donald Clark's refusal to answer questions about 
cheating. Clark and Testing Coordinator Christi Davis-Langston knew or should have known of 
the cheating in 2009 and in other years. Principal Clark failed to properly monitor the 2009 
CRCT. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 



Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


46.7 


10.4 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


21 


5 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


8(7) 


3(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


9 


5.4 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


21.4 


7.2 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


3.7 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teaclier 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


POWERS 


1 RD 


3.509111489 


POWERS 


1 LA 


4.586102472 


POWERS 


1 MA 


4.260461109 


BUTLER 


2 MA 


5.190621156 


SEALS 


2 RD 


4.228229406 


SEALS 


2 LA 


3.880424229 


MCNAM.EE 


3 RD 


9.624865356 


MCNAMEK 


3 LA 


6.422355453 


MCNAMEE 


3 MA 


3.104472432 


PASIVE 


3RD 


7.025927454 


PASIVE 


3 LA 


6.658610242 


PASIVE 


3 MA 


4.300672458 


ABELLA 


4-RD 


13.25179281 


ABELLA 


4 LA 


21.43438688 


ABELLA 


4 MA 


13. 12665736 


AHMED 


4RD 


16.64351795 


AHMED 


4 LA 


8 056040448 


AHMED 


4 MA 


10.84091485 


TERRY 


4 RD 


15.55531856 


TERRY 


4 LA 


12 53867805 


TERRY 


4 MA 


15 68865008 



151 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 



A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Humphries Elementary School 
was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms was 46.7% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only 25 schools in APS with a higher percentage that year. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only eight schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Humphries Elementary 
School. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
significantly from 46.7% to 10.4%. 

Fourth, of the 21 flagged classrooms at Humphries Elementary School, 14 (67% of the 
total) had standard deviations that exceeded five, and eight classrooms exceeded ten standard 
deviations. At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred 
without adult intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard 
deviations the probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations 
from the state mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad 
scale at this school. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Humphries, 71.4% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
46.7% of the total classrooms in the school. 

Sixth, at least three proctors asked to be assigned other duties because they witnessed 
cheating by teachers on the 1TB S test or the CRCT. Two teachers admitted to cheating on the 
2009 CRCT. 

Last, Principal Clark knew that cheating occurred on the 2009 CRCT, and attempted to 
cover up the misconduct. Lillian Lockhart told Clark she witnessed cheating. Mr. Clark told 
her, "If you don't tell me anything, I won't have to report anything." 

B. Narrative 

The fourth grade at Humphries was compartmentalized, meaning that one teacher taught 
science and social studies, one taught math, and one taught language arts and reading. The 
fourth grade teachers were instructed by Principal Clark to walk between each other's 
homerooms during the 2009 CRCT. While walking in each other's classrooms, Wendy Ahmed, 
Ingrid Abella, and Lisa Terry prompted students, and verbally gave answers or hand signals to 
indicate the correct answers. Two proctors, Demetrius Carroll and Adrienne Woods, witnessed 



152 



testing violations by Wendy Ahmed, Ingrid Abella, or Lisa Terry during testing in 2009 and 
asked to be removed as proctors. Lillian Lockhart also witnessed Wendy Ahmed giving hand 
signals to students during the administration of the 2009 CRCT and asked to be removed as a 
proctor. She was removed. No action was taken by the testing coordinator or Principal Clark to 
report this misconduct. 

In 2010, Principal Clark informed the teachers at a meeting that GBI agents would be 
coming to the school to investigate allegations of cheating. Lillian Lockhart approached 
Principal Clark and told him what she saw in 2009, and told him she would tell the investigators 
what she saw. Principal Clark asked Lockhart why she was reporting this to him now, and stated 
"if you don't tell me anything, I don't have to report anything." Lockhart told Principal Clark 
that she only witnessed hand signals, not erasing. The next day Principal Clark called Lockhart 
to his office and asked her if she wanted to talk about what she saw, but again cautioned her, "If 
you don't tell me anything, I won't have to report anything." Confused and fearful, Lockhart 
told him she had nothing to report. 

Lockhart later told Testing Coordinator Christi Davis-Langston what she witnessed in 
2009, and that she had relayed the same to Principal Clark. Davis-Langston went to Principal 
Clark and relayed what Lockhart told her. Principal Clark separately instructed Lockhart and 
Davis-Langston not to discuss the matter with anyone. Lockhart ignored this instruction and 
discussed the matter further with Davis-Langston, and both went to Principal Clark's office. 
Principal Clark became angry and berated them for refusing to follow his instruction of silence. 

Later, Principal Clark told Lockhart that he would have to file an OIR report on the 
incident. Clark instructed Lockhart to prepare a statement about what she witnessed in 2009. 
She prepared a statement but left out the majority of the details, because she believed that is what 
Principal Clark wanted her to do. 

APS sent Penn Payne to investigate the matter. Lockhart testified that Ms. Payne's 
questions seemed designed to make her feel as she were betraying her friends and her school. 
Lockhart admitted she minimized the cheating she witnessed to Payne. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

L Joanne Carroll (Proctor) 

Joanne Carroll witnessed Maria Pasive prompt students during the administration of the 
2009 ITBS test, and requested to be removed as her proctor for the 2009 CRCT. We attempted 
to interview Maria Pasive on multiple occasions, but did not locate her. 

2. Adrienne Woods (Proctor) 

Adrienne Woods witnessed "irregularities" on the 2008 CRCT, and requested to be 
assigned to a different classroom for the 2009 CRCT. In 2009 many of the fourth grade students 
could only read on a second grade level, but exceeded expectations on the CRCT. 



153 



3. Tonia Clark (Proctor) 



'Ionia Clark admitted to prompting students during the 2009 CRCT. She witnessed Lisa 
Terry instructing students to change answers during the 2009 CRCT. She also saw Wendy 
Ahmed verbally giving students the answers on the test. 

4. Lillian Lockhart (Proctor) 

Lillian Lockhart witnessed Wendy Ahmed giving students answers to the 2009 CRCT by 
giving hand signals while standing in front of the classroom. After witnessing Wendy Ahmed 
cheating, Lockhart requested a new assignment for the remainder of the 2009 CRCT from 
Testing Coordinator Christi Davis-Langston, Lockhart did not provide a reason for this request, 
nor did she report the cheating she witnessed. 

Later, in 2010, Principal Clark informed Humphries' teachers that investigators would be 
coming to the school with regard to cheating on the 2009 CRCT. Lockhart went to Clark and 
disclosed the cheating she witnessed, and told Principal Clark she would tell the investigators 
what she saw. Clark asked Lockhart why she failed to report the incident in 2009, and said, "If 
you don't tell me anything, I won't have to report anything." Lockhart told Principal Clark that 
she only witnessed Wendy Ahmed making hand gestures and not any erasing. The next day 
Clark again called Lockhart to his office and told her, "If you don't tell me anything, I won't 
have to report anything." Lockhart told Principal Clark that she had nothing to report. 

Clark instructed Lockhart not to speak with anyone about the incident but she spoke with 
Davis-Langston, who in turn spoke with Clark. He called them both to his office and berated 
them for talking to one another when he instructed them not to. He then told Lockhart that he 
would have to report the incident to OIR, and instructed her to write a statement about what she 
witnessed. Lockhart wrote a statement and intentionally left out most of the details because she 
believed Principal Clark wanted her to leave out many details. 

APS sent attorney Penn Payne to question Lockhart. Lockhart said that Penn Payne's 
questions were designed to make her feel as if she were betraying her friends and her school. 
She minimized the cheating she saw in response to the pressure she felt from Penn Payne. 

During the 2010 CRCT, Lockhart was assigned to monitor a kindergarten class and was 
not allowed to proctor the CRCT. Lockhart believes she was placed in a kindergarten class in 
retaliation for reporting the testing violation in 2009. 

5. Demetrius Carroll (Proctor) 

Demetrius Carroll heard that Lisa Terry, Wendy Ahmed, and Ingrid Abella cheated on 
the CRCT, During the 2008 CRCT, Carroll witnessed a student copy from another student's 
answer sheet in Abella' s classroom. He reported the violation to Abella. She did not seem 
surprised and moved the student's desk a few inches away from the other student. Carroll asked 
for a different proctoring assignment because of this incident and because he heard that Abella 
prompted students on the CRCT. He reported the violation to then-testing coordinator Yolanda 
Faison. 



154 



6. Tia Brown (Proctor) 



Tia Brown saw Ingrid Abella approach many students' desks during the administration of 
the 2009 CRCT, but she could not tell what Ingrid Abella was doing. 

7. Cawarma Powers (Teacher) 

Cawanna Powers heard that the third, fourth, and fifth grades erased and changed 
students' answers on the 2009 CRCT. 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

7. Donald Clark (Principal) 

Donald Clark denied any knowledge of cheating, and does not believe anyone cheated at 
Humphries. 

2. Christi Davis-Langs/on (Testing Coordinator) 

Christi Davis-Langston testified that Lillian Lockhart did not report the cheating 
described in Section IV(C)(4) until March of 2010. She immediately reported this to Pnncipal 
Clark, and prepared the statement included as Attachment A. 

Davis-Langston said she was surprised at how well the students of Wendy Ahmed, Lisa 
Terry, and Ingrid Abbella performed on the 2009 CRCT. 

3. Wendy Ahmed (Teacher) 

Wendy Ahmed denied making hand signals or otherwise prompting students on the 2009 
CRCT Principal Clark instructed her to write a statement detailing what she did and what 
testing protocols she violated. She drafted a statement and turned it in to Principal Clark. She 
heard nothing further until Penn Payne's investigation. 

4. Ingrid Abella (Teacher) 

Ingrid Abella denied prompting students on the 2009 CRCT and denied that Demetrius 
Carroll ever pointed out a student cheating in her classroom. She also denied moving that 
student's desk a few inches away. 

5. Lisa Terry (Teacher) 

Lisa Terry admitted to cheating by prompting students during the administration of the 
2009 CRCT. 



155 



IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 



After observing cheating, multiple proctors asked that they be removed from fourth grade 
classrooms during the CRCT and the ITBS test. Based on this evidence, we conclude that 
Christi Davis-Langston knew, or should have known, cheating occurred on the 2009 CRCT at 
this school. 

We conclude that Wendy Ahmed, Ingrid Abella, Lisa Terry, and Tonia Clark cheated on 
the 2009 CRCT. 

Based on the statistical evidence and evidence we have found at schools with similar 
statistical data, we believe that other flagged teachers cheated. However, we lack sufficient 
evidence to determine who engaged in this misconduct. 

Lillian Lockhart reported to Principal Clark that she witnessed Wendy Ahmed cheating 
on the 2009 CRCT. Instead of immediately reporting this, Clark attempted to dissuade Lockhart 
from telling the truth by saying, "If you don't tell me anything, I won't have to report anything." 
Principal Clark knew of cheating in 2010, if not before. He attempted to prevent Lockhart from 
reporting Wendy Ahmed's cheating on the 2009 CRCT. 

We further conclude that Principal Donald Clark failed in his ultimate responsibility for 
testing activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper securing for the 2009 
CRCT. It is our conclusion, from the statistical data and other evidence, that Principal Clark 
failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately supervise testing activities and test 
security. This resulted in, and he is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously 
reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



156 



Statement of Events 



I, Christ! Davis-La ngston, the 2008-2009 testing coordinator for Humphries Elementary School, was 
approached on the fourth day of the CRCT administration around 2:00p,m by Mrs. Lillian Lockhart, one 
of the testing proctors. Mrs. Lockhart approached me with a concern saying she felt a little 
uncomfortable with proctoring in the classroom to which she was assigned. I immediately informed her 
that if an irregularity occurred, I needed to know so It could be reported to Mr. Clark and the testing 
office. She paused fora moment and said, "No, just assign me another duty; i can handle it." 

At that point, I thought it had something to do with some sort of tension between the two teachers. My 
main concern was the importance of maintaining a nurturing environment for the students. Therefore, 
without hesitation I immediately assigned her to a new duty for the remaining days of the CRCT 
administration. I thought her concern was resolved after being placed as hail monitor. This concern was 
not brought to my attention again until March 25, 2010. 

Mr. Clark called a faculty meeting March 24, 2010, and informed us that the State would be coming to 
our school to investigate the testing procedure at our school. Hetofdus how proud he was of his staff 
and that we had not done anything wrong, so we had nothing to be concerned about 

On March 25, 2010, Mrs, Lockhart came to my office and told me that she went to Mr. Clark 
immediately after the faculty meeting about the concern that she had last year while proctoring in Mrs. 
Abella's 4 th grade ctassroom. I asked her why did she not report this irregularity to Mr. Clark and me on 
last year. She said she thought she could handle it, but her conscious kept bothering her. 

While in my office, Mrs. Lockhart began telling me what she told Mr. CJark. She stated that she told Mr. 
Clark that Mrs. Ahmed, a 4 th grade science and social studies teacher, came into the classroom where 
Mrs. Lockhart was proctoring to look in on her students to provide a little motivation while her students 
were taking that portion of the test. She stated that she told Mr. Clark that Mrs. Ahmed started giving 
answers out in front of the class. She said she told him that she pulled her aside and told her that she 
could not do that. Mrs. Lockhart went on to say that she told him that she and Mrs. Ahmed had a 
conversation about Mrs. Ahmed's actions, and she felt a little better. During the course of her telling me 
what she told Mr. Clark, she said Mr. Clark asked her If she saw Mrs. Ahmed erase any answers and she 
said, "No." 

On Friday morning, March 26, 2010 , Mr. Clark called me into his office to share a concern that Mrs. 
Lockhart had regarding proctoring in Mrs, Abella's class during CRCT testing 2008-2009. Mr. Clark 
informed me that Mrs. Lockhart stated an irregularity was committed by Mrs. Ahmed duringthe 2008- 
2009 testing session. At that point I informed him that Mrs. Lockhart oniy voiced a concern about 
feeling uncomfortable while proctoring the CRCT and requested that she be moved. 1 granted her 
request because, as 1 stated above, I thought there might be some tension between them, and I wanted 
to preserve the testing environment for our students. 



1U-011U-25-11 



EXHIBIT 



157 



GLOSSARY 



TERM 


DEFINITION 


APS 


Atlanta Public Schools. An independent school system in the City 
of Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Officially the ''Atlanta 
Independent School System.' 1 


AYP 


Adequate Yearly Progress. Part of the federal No Child Left 
Behind Act of 2001 , AYP is a measure of year-to-year student 
achievement on statewide assessments. Schools, school districts, 
and states must demonstrate a certain level of performance on 
reading an d/or language aits and mathematics assessments. 
Schools that do not "meet AYP 1 ' for two consecutive years in the 
same subject area are designated as schools in "Needs 
Improvement." 


Certified educator 


Individuals trained in education who hold teaching, leadership, 
service, technical specialist, or permit certification issued by the 
PSC. 


Classroom level data 


CRCT erasure analysis data for specific teacher or homeroom, 
including the subject tested, number of students, total number of 
wrong to right erasures, and resulting standard deviation. 


Confessed 


Admitted to the truth of a charge or accusation, 


Convocation 


Annual celebration held by APS to recognize schools that have 
met at least 70 percent of its performance targets. All APS 
schools' faculty are expected to attend. 


CRCT 


Criterion-Referenced Competency Test A standardized test 
used by Georgia as the AYP assessment tool for elementary and 
middle schools. Tests grades 1 -8 in reading, English/language 
arts, and math. In addition, grades 3-8 are tested in science and 
social studies. 


ELA 


English /language arts 


Fifth (5 th ) Amendment 


The privilege against self-incrimination grounded in the Fifth 
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing that no person 

will be COmoclled to be a witness fl£?ainst himself In a prifminal 

case, if a defendant invokes the 5 1h Amendment and refuses to 
testify, he may not be presumed guilty based on that refusal. 
However, in a civil case, if a witness invokes the 5 th Amendment 
and refuses to answer questions concerning whether he or she 
committed a particular act, "it creates an implied admission that a 
truthful answer would tend to prove that the witness had 
committed the act," Perez v. Atlanta Check Coshers, Inc., 302 
Ga. App. 864, 870 (2010). 


GOSA 


Governor's Office of Student Achievement. State agency which 
provides accountability for Georgia's schools, pre-K through 
postsecondary levels. The intent is to improve student 
achievement and school completion in Georgia. 


GTR 1D# 


Unique identification number assigned to each student. 



158 





Individualized Education Program. Free, appropriate, public 
special education services which students with certain disabilities 
or impairments are eligible to receive. An IEP is a written plan 
developed by a team of teachers, other qualified personnel, 
parents, guardians, and the student if appropriate. 


Implicated 


Shown to be also involved, usually in an incriminating manner. 


T A 

LA 


Language arts 


MA 


Mathematics 


Makes the floor 


At Convocation, schools that "make the floor" have met at least 
70 percent of its targets. Those schools' faculty members are 

i 1 ' 1 1 PI Pill j •jIj'I 11 

seated m groups on the floor of the host venue, with the schools 
meeting the highest percentage of its targets seated closest to the 
stage. Schools that do not make the floor arc seated in bleachers 
or other remote seating. 


Meets, exceeds 


Refers to a measurement, usually expressed as a percentage, of 
students who "met" or "exceeded" state standards in certain core 
curriculum subjects (math, reading, English/language arts, 
science, and social students) as measured by the CRCT. 


Monitors 


Persons assigned to a school to observe test administration 
procedures; e.g. test distribution, test collection, storage of test 
materials. Observes testing sites to see that schedules are being 
followed, reports unusual activity. 


OIK 


APS Office of Internal Resolution/Employee Relations. 

T> J" A ' A 1 * J J j P 1 

Processes and investigates complaints and reports of employee 
wrongdoing and related employment matters. 


Parapro/paraprofessional 


A person who may have less than professional-level certification, 
who relates in role and function to a professional and does a 
portion of the professional s job under the professional s 
supervision, and whose decision-making authority is limited and 
regulated by the professional. O.C.G.A. § 20-2-204. Georgia 
paraprofessionals must be certified by the PSC. 


PDP 


Professional Development Plan, A plan developed and 
implemented to correct perceived deficiencies in performance of 
teachers and administrators, used to encourage and support 
improvement in specific areas. 


PEC 


Program tor Exceptional Children. Program offering specialized, 
educational testing, evaluation and other services to eligible 
children with certain disabilities or impairments. Each eligible 
student must have an IEP. 


Preponderance of the evidence 


A standard of proof in civil cases. Evidence which is of greater 
weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in 
opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the 
fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. 


Proctors 


Persons assigned to monitor classrooms or other specific areas 
during testing; circulate to observe students and discourage 
misconduct; assist test examiner to maintain testing security; 
report unusual activity or irregularities. 



159 



Prompting 


Assisting students during testing by use of verbal or nonverbal 
cues. Examples include voice inflection, pointing to answers, 
repetition or repnrdsing 01 worus or pdbbageb, pnyMCdi tuca, 

^vi /\^ ram Anfo DAnvinc? r\i~ pi /rn al c •m^curt' c l l (Tiff* £ f /~\ r- /» /~~\Vi \ / 7 fnp 

movements, aOUHClb, Ul blglldib iiicdiil lu bUggc»L wi L/Uiivcy Liic 

answer or encourage students to erase and change an answer. 


PSC 


Georgia Professional Standards Commission. A state agency 

Credteu to bcl dllu dppiy nigll bLallliallla lv/1 LUC picpaialiuii, 

certification, and continued licensing of Georgia public 

pHnratnrc " TTip P^vf^ ulcf^ TianHlpQ tVif invp^ti cmtirwx Ann Hup 

CUULdlVjI b. 111C roL dloU lldl.lU.lCa L11C lllVGoll^ClllWll dllU- U.L4C 

process of cases referred for disciplinary action. 


RD 


Reading 


RPA 


APS' Department of Research, Planning and Accountability. 
Among other functions, RPA manages and oversees all testing 
programs at /vr o. 


Social promotion 


The practice of promoting a student from one grade level to the 
next on the basis of age rather than academic achievement. 


SRTs 

• 


School Reform Teams. APS is organized into four (4) 
geograpnicauy augnea areas comprised or elementary dim iniuuic 
schools, each headed by an executive director. The structure is 
meant to provide greater accountability and faster service to 
schools and parents. 


Standard deviation 


/v measure 01 me vdriduuiiy ui uibpciMon ui a uisiuimuuii ui 
scores that represents the average difference between individual 

arrvrf^c onrl tlir* mr»?»ti TliP mrvrp tllP QfTsrPQ fMlTQ+PT JUTVMflM trip 

mean, the smaller the standard deviation. 


Student level data 


CRCT erasure analysis data for each individual student for each 
subject tested (RD, ELA, MA) showing the total number of 
erasures made on that test, and the number of those erasures that 
cnangeci rrorn wrong 10 ngnL. 


Stray marks 


Pencil markings made on answer sheets that are visible outside of 
the "bubble" or oval area where answer choices are to be marked. 


Targets 


An accountability program implemented by APS, consisting of 
specific performance goals set for each school at the beginning of 
the school year. The targets are based on quantifiable measures, 

prillldiiiy v^XnA^I Lcbl SvOICb, dllU albU lllV/lUUC laCLUla sUV/Il db 

student attendance, and enrollment in rigorous academic courses. 


Testing accommodation 


A change in a test administration that modifies how a student 
takps or resnnnds to the assessment Accommodations are 
designed to provide equity and serve to level the playing field for 
students with disabilities and English Language Learners. 


Totality of the evidence 


Finding or conclusion based on all of the circumstances of a 
particular case, rather than any one factor. 


WTR 


Wrong To Right = an incorrect answer choice is erased and 
changed to a correct answer choice on an answer sheet, as 
detected by erasure analysis using high speed optical scanners. 



160 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 



Volume 2 

(School Summaries continued) 

Dunbar Elementary School 161 

D.H. Stanton Elementary School 168 

Finch Elementary School... ....... 175 

Coan Middle School 185 

Dobbs Elementary School * 191 

Toomer Elementary School 204 

Benteen Elementary School » « 207 

Beecher Hills Elementary School 215 

Fain Elementary School ........... ♦» * 219 

Slater Elementary School 226 

Thomasville Heights Elementary School 233 

Fickett Elementary School • * 242 

Hutchinson Elementary School ♦ 247 

Capitol View Elementary School 251 

Towns Elementary School * * 257 

Blalock Elementary School 262 

Whitefoord Elementary School , • 266 

Boyd Elementary School 269 

West Manor Elementary School 273 

Turner Middle School .276 



White Elementary School 28 ^ 

Harper Archer Middle School 282 

M. Agnes Jones Elementary School **•••• 2 ^6 

Parkside Elementary School 303 

Bethune Elementary School * 305 

Miles Elementary School J1Z 

Grove Park Elementary School >«• 315 

Jackson Elementary School ....318 

Cleveland Elementary School • 320 

Alonzo A. Crim Open Campus High School 322 

Benjamin S. Carson Preparatory Academy 323 

C.W. Hill Elementary School * 326 

Adams ville Elementary School * 327 

Cascade Elementary School 328 

Heritage Academy Elementary School • - 329 

University Community Academy * 330 

Williams Elementary School * 335 

Herndon Elementary School • - 336 

Bolton Academy Elementary School 337 

Morningside Elementary School 339 

Morris Brandon Elementary School * 341 

2009 vs. 2010 342 



APS Percentage of Classes with Flagged WTR's Chart 345 

347 

Glossary * ** * " " 



DUNBAR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



403 Richardson Street SW Principal: Betty Greene SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 12 Testing Coordinator: Lera Middlebrooks 

T. TNVESTTGA TTVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Dunbar Elementary in 2009 and in other years. 
Thirty-three teachers at this school were interviewed, some more than once. One teacher 
confessed to cheating and described a schoolwide effort to systematically change students' 
answers. Cheating at Dunbar is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, a confession 
and witness testimony. Teachers altered student tests at the direction of the testing coordinator. 
In 2009, Principal Betty Greene knew, or should have known, about the cheating and did nothing 
to stop it. She failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

H. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


68.8 


22.2 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


35 


8 


Niunber of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


12(12) 


4(3) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


10.6 


4.3 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


25.5 


5.7 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


5.7 


3.1 



161 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 
Test 


Standard 
Deviation 


CLEVELAND 


1 RD 


17.22939083 


CLEVELAND 


1 LA 


16.99132645 


CLEVELAND 


1 MA 


11.47314625 


ROBINSON 


1 RD 


13.47719177 


ROBINSON 


1 LA 


11.79453268 


ROBINSON 


1 MA 


11.81766289 


BUCKNER WEBB 


2 RD 


9.956665175 


BUCKNER WEBB 


2 LA 


13.44381668 


BUCKNER WEBB 


2 MA 


10,72902389 


NKAL 


2 RD 


13,38424431 


NEAL 


2 LA 


1 2,94238772 


MEAL 


2 MA 


12.63677355 


FINCH 


3 RD 


12 74161831 


FINCH 


3 LA 


13 071068-19 


FINCH 


3 MA 


8.163582603 


SIMS 


3 RD 


13 6 532191 


SIMS 


3 LA 


15,51816483 


SIMS 


3 MA 


14.46837268 


MERO 


4 RD 


15.29138298 


MERO 


4 LA 


16.71096832 


MERO 


4 MA 


13 65208524 


JACKSON 


4 RD 


8,644315347 


JACKSON 


4 LA 


15.37803113 


JACKSON 


4 MA 


9.828594528 


MORRIS 


4 RD 


8.305788944 


MORRIS 


4 LA 


5.692897979 


MORRIS 


4 MA 


16.63570708 


BROWN 


5 RD 


19.00286597 


BROWN 


5 LA 


19.20845225 


BROWN 


5 MA 


19.24820175 


MERO 


5 RD 


25,48075585 


MERO 


5 MA 


17 29375013 


IV EY 


5 RD 


24 52850503 


IVEY 


5 LA 


19.77430582 


IVEY 


5 MA 


23 00447453 



in. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that educators at Dunbar cheated on 
the 2009 CRCT. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 68.8% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only eight schools in APS with a higher percentage that year. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only one school had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Dunbar. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
from 68.8% to 22.2%. 

Fourth, of the 35 flagged classrooms at Dunbar, all (100%) had standard deviations that 
exceeded five and 29 (83% of the total number of flagged classrooms) classrooms exceeded ten 



162 



standard deviations. At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures 
occurred without adult intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten 
standard deviations the probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the 
deviations from the state mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating 
on a broad scale at Dunbar. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures 98.6% were produced by the flagged classrooms which accounted for only 68.6% of the 
total classrooms. 

Additionally, several witnesses state that teachers at Dunbar changed answers on the 
2009 CRCT and probably in previous years as well. 

B. Narrative 

Testing Coordinator Lera Middlebrooks called teachers to the computer lab to "clean up" 
the tests. They were called by grade level. One teacher confessed to changing answers in the 
computer lab with other teachers of her grade level. Given the high standard deviations in all 
grades at Dunbar, we find it likely that third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers altered test 
documents as well. Lera Middlebrooks attempted to influence witnesses by threatening them 
with harm if they told investigators about the erasing. 

At least one teacher, Gloria Ivey, gave students the correct answers during the test. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Rose Neal (Teacher) 

Rose Neal taught second grade and confessed to cheating on the 2009 CRCT. Lera 
Middlebrooks approached Neal in 2009 and told her that she could "clean up" the tests if she 
wanted. Neal believed Middlebrooks meant that she could erase and change answers. Neal 
erased her students' answers in the computer lab with fellow first and second grade teachers 
Pamela Cleveland, Shani Robinson, and Diane Webb Buckner. They all changed answers for 
approximately thirty minutes. Middlebrooks did not change answers but she was in the room. 

All grade levels received the same opportunity to cheat. Neal heard that three teachers 
declined to cheat: Martina Jackson, Shawntye Finch, and Kimberly Brown Yontz. She believes 
the others changed answers. 

Cleveland, Ivey, Neal, and Middlebrooks discussed that if they did not say anything this 
investigation could not find anything. They agreed to tell the same story. Middlebrooks 
threatened the teachers that if they told investigators what happened she would place a lien on 
their house or "get them at their car." She said, "If any bitch mentions my name . . .," implying 
that she would do something violent to anyone who implicated her. 

According to Neal, cheating occurred during the tenure of the prior principal Corliss 
Davenport as well. Davenport had a team of teachers that would change answers in a back 
office. 



163 



2. Jonathan Basivett (Teacher) 



Jonathan Baggett started teaching at Dunbar in the 2009-2010 school year. Baggett soon 
heard "What happens at Dunbar stays at Dunbar . . . You wouldn't believe what goes on here." 
Baggett was a monitor during the 2010 CRCT. During the math portion each student in Ivey's 
fifth grade class had a sheet of paper on their desk. Baggett and another hall monitor say they 
believe there were math formulas on the paper. 

During the social studies portion of the CRCT, Baggett saw suspicious activity. 
Immediately prior to the administration of the test, the students had their social studies books 
out. When Baggett walked into the classroom, he says he felt that the students knew they were 
doing something wrong and looked guilty and uncomfortable. Baggett reported this activity to 
the SRT monitor. The SRT monitor told him to tell Principal Greene. Principal Greene told 
Baggett that since the children had their books out prior to the test, there was nothing improper. 

During the 2010 ITBS, Baggett heard Ivey giving her students the answers to the test 
questions. 

3. Lashaine Blake (Teacher) 

Lashaine Blake taught at Dunbar in 2004 and 2005. She witnessed former principal 
Corliss Davenport point to the correct answers on the CRCT for students. 

4. Larita Dixon (Teacher) 

In the 2004-2005 school year, Dixon tutored students. On one occasion, she asked the 
students how they scored so well on the CRCT because she knew they had not studied the 
material. Corliss Davenport filed an OIR complaint against Dixon for confronting students. 
Davenport wrote the report in such a way that it did not reference test scores. Dixon believes 
Ivey was the one who gave her tutorial students the answers to the CRCT. 

Parents requested that their children be placed in Ivey's class because she would give 
students the answers to the CRCT. Dixon believes that Ivey wrote the answers on the board. 

5. Shawntye Finch (Teacher) 

Teachers got together by grade level and erased stray marks and "cleaned up" tests with 
the test books open. Five to six people were in the room at a time "cleaning up" the tests. 
Teachers at all grade levels participated. 

Students request to be tested by teacher Gloria Ivey. Finch thinks this is because Ivey 
gives the students the answers. 

6. Martina Jackson (Teacher) 

Students request to be tested by Gloria Ivey. The students say that if Ivey tested them she 
would help them on the CRCT. 



164 



7. Oreta Taylor (Proctor) 



Oreta Taylor proctored during the 2009 CRCT. She told Lera Middlebrooks she did not 
want to proctor Ivey's class in 2009 because she suspected Ivey gave students the answers. 

In some year prior to 2009 she heard former principal Corliss Davenport and 
Middlebrooks say to each other, "What are we going to do about these test scores?" She thought 
this was suspicious. 

Alan Gotlieb, a Teach for America teacher, told Taylor his students 5 answer sheets had 
been altered and that he took pictures of the answer sheets. Gotlieb was at Dunbar when the 
prior principal was there. 

No teacher would report cheating because the procedures require the teachers to talk to 
the testing coordinator who then reports to the principal. Teachers would not report misconduct 
to the people who were cheating. Also, teachers were told they would be fired if they did not 
improve test scores but would receive bonuses if test scores improved. Taylor feels that the 
environment was ripe for cheating. She does not believe APS planned the cheating but that there 
was a "culture of carelessness," and that there was pressure combined "with looking the other 
way." 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Betty Greene (Principal) 

Principal Greene testified that she did not cheat and does not have knowledge of 
cheating. When asked to explain the statistical evidence, she stated that the classes at Dunbar are 
very small and so it does not take much erasing for the standard deviations to be high. 

Principal Greene testified under oath that she did not know that Middlebrooks directed 
teachers to "clean up tests" or erase stray marks. 

2. Gloria ivey (Teacher) 

Gloria Ivey denied knowledge of cheating. In 2009, Ivey had three subjects flagged with 
standard deviations of 19, 23, and 24. Ivey's test results dropped in 2010, and when 
investigators asked her to explain why the scores dropped, she blamed it on the children. Ivey 
said her students in 2010 were not as bright as her students in 2009. 

3. Lera Middlebrooks (Testing Coordinator) 

Lera Middlebrooks was interviewed four times and denied any knowledge of cheating. 

4. Corliss Davenport (former principal) 

Corliss Davenport denied cheating while she was the principal of Dunbar. Three 
particular teachers had CRCT score gains that made her suspicious, but she has no direct 
knowledge of cheating. 



165 



Davenport was the principal of Dunbar from 2003 to 2007. Test scores steadily 
improved while she was principal, but not at a level satisfactory to SRT-2 Director Michael Pitts. 
Pitts asked Davenport sign a guaranty in 2006 stating that all of her Dunbar students would pass 
the CRCT. She refused to sign the document and Pitts began sending harassing and threatening 
e-mails regarding her dedication to the job. Davenport discussed the issue with Dr. Kathy 
Augustine. Augustine told Davenport that Davenport and Pitts needed to work together and 
understand each other better. It was after this that Pitts opened an investigation into a personal 
bank account used by Davenport to deposit monies obtained from renting out the school. This 
was a common practice within APS. Davenport opened a personal account because Pitts never 
responded to her e-mails asking where she should put the money. Davenport accounted for all 
proceeds that entered and exited the account and cooperated with the investigation. The APS 
investigation stated that she did not break the law but used poor judgment and she should be 
terminated. The termination was rescinded after Davenport's attorney spoke with APS. 
Davenport was tired of fighting with Pitts and resigned on April 1, 2007. 

E. Testimony of Additional Witnesses 

/. Dunbar Student 

A student at Dunbar told investigators about an altercation among the students over the 
scores received by lvey's students. Students in Brown's fifth grade class were upset because the 
students in lvey's class received awards for their CRCT scores. After an awards ceremony there 
was a fight in the hallway between the two classes over the awards. The children in Brown's 
class did not believe the students in lvey's class were "smart enough" to win the awards. 

F. Other Evidence 

In June 2009, the Georgia Department of Education ("DOE") passed along an allegation 
of cheating to APS. The allegation came to the DOE from the Toombs County Public School 
System. According to the complaint, in March of 2009, Lera Middlebrooks gave a friend and 
former colleague, Wanetta Jones, who was working in Toombs County, two Grade 5 prompts for 
the 2009 Georgia Writing Assessment. Jones e-mailed educators in Toombs County. Jones' e- 
mail stated: "A friend gave me these suggested topics for this year's writing assessment." The 
topics were two of the three topics that appeared on the writing assessment administered in 
March. Jones told investigators that she spoke to Middlebrooks about test topics on February 24 
and February 28. She sent the e-mail to Toombs County teachers on March 1. The APS-hired 
outside investigator determined that Dunbar received the writing test on February 26. 
Middlebrooks' defense was that the two topics she suggested are topics she used during training 
throughout the school year and that she told Jones the topics before the tests arrived at Dunbar. 
Middlebrooks said she only talked to Jones on February 24 and that they did not talk on February 
28. According to Middlebrooks, she could not have known the topics before the tests arrived at 
Dunbar. The APS investigation concluded that the evidence did not support a finding that 
Middlebrooks shared test topics with Jones. 



166 



IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 



We find that Testing Coordinator Lera Middlebrooks directed and facilitated cheating on 
the 2009 CRCT. Our conclusion is based on the statistical evidence, the testimony of Rose Neal, 
and the Dunbar teachers who say tests were "cleaned up" in Middlebrooks' presence. 

Rose Neal testified that the first and second grade teachers changed answers together. 
She implicated the following first and second grade teachers: Pamela Cleveland, Shani 
Robinson, and Diane Webb Buckner. Each of those teachers is flagged and we conclude that 
they altered students' answer sheets, 

Teachers in all five grades at Dunbar are flagged. Witnesses testified that teachers 
"cleaned up" tests by grade level in the computer lab with Lera Middlebrooks. Neal confirmed 
what many teachers suspected: that "cleaning up" meant erasing answers. Based on the 
statistical evidence in third and fourth grades, we believe that other flagged teachers cheated in 
the same manner. However, we lack sufficient evidence to determine which additional teachers 
engaged in cheating. 

There are three flagged teachers in the fifth grade with standard deviations that range 
from 17.3 to 25.5. It is highly improbable that these wrong-to-right erasures occurred without 
human intervention. One of the fifth grade teachers is Gloria Ivey. A student, Oreta Taylor, 
Martina Jackson, Shawntye Finch, Neal and Jonathan Baggett all testified that Gloria Ivey 
cheated on the CRCT and on the TTBS test. We conclude that Gloria Tvey cheated on the CRCT 
in 2009 and in other years. We believe that other flagged fifth grade teachers cheated in the 
same manner. However, we lack sufficient evidence to determine which additional teachers 
cheated. 

It is likely that Principal Greene knew teachers were cheating. The computer lab was on 
the same hallway as Principal Greene's office and Neal stated that Principal Greene was in her 
office when the teachers were erasing answers. The evidence further indicates that prior 
principal Corliss Davenport cheated, or had knowledge of, cheating on the CRCT in the years 
prior to 2009. 

We further conclude that Principal Betty Greene failed in her ultimate responsibility for 
testing activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper securing for the 2009 
CRCT. It is our conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this 
investigation, that Principal Greene failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately 
supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, 
falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 

Tn summary, we conclude that Rose Neal, Pamela Cleveland, Shani Robinson, Diane 
Webb Buckner, Lera Middlebrooks, Gloria Ivey, Corliss Davenport and Betty Greene were 
involved in, or knew about, cheating on the CRCT. 



167 



D.H. STANTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



970 Martin Street Principal: Willie Davenport SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 15 Testing Coordinator: Francis Mack 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at D.H. Stanton Elementary in 2009. Forty -three people 
were interviewed at D.H. Stanton, some more than once. Cheating at this school is evidenced by 
a high number of flagged classrooms and witness testimony. Principal Willie Davenport 
falsified attendance records and failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


58.3 


17.6 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


28 


9 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


13(10) 


5(3) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


7.1 


4.5 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


16.4 


6.8 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.2 


3.3 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teachere 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


FREEMAN, S 


1 LA 


3.156218027 


FREEMAN. S 


1 MA 


5.993240792 


HENDERSON 


ILA 


3.919355265 


HENDERSON 


IMA 


6.982042641 


PEARSON 


1 LA 


4.742821759 


PEARSON 


1 MA 


6.721165913 


BEAN 


2 LA 


6.097889682 


BEAN 


2 MA 


4.412189693 


EONGT,EY 


2 LA 


4.457594802 


RAILEY 


2RD 


3.323602389 


RA1LEY 


2 LA 


5.034765376 


RAILEY 


2 MA 


13.35227113 


CROWDER 


3RD 


9.079333524 


FREEMAN, J 


3RD 


10.59476171 


FREEMAN. J 


3 LA 


4.001932283 


FREEMAN, .1 


3 MA 


3.51359273 


MARTIN 


3RD 


13,15889705 


DRIGER 


4RD 


5.G54729531 


DRIGER 


4 LA 


4.549254822 


DRIGER 


4 MA 


4.596643495 


HALL 


4RD 


16.41395851 


HALL 


4 LA 


13 83837352 


HALT. 


4 MA 


9.647934367 


COWAN 


5 LA 


5.273507313 


COWAN 


5 MA 


5.402169957 


FUR MAN 


5 RD 


7.739448899 


TURMAN 


5 LA 


8.890014444 


TURMAN 


5 MA 


8.224118733 



168 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 



A. Overview 

Several facts point to the conclusion that D.H. Stanton Elementary School was not 
managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 58.3% for the 2009 CRCT. With state 
monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped from 58.3% to 17.6%. 

Second, of the 28 flagged classrooms at D.H. Stanton, 18 (64% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and five classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at D.H. 
Stanton. 

Third, is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at D.H. Stanton, 87% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
58.3% of the total classrooms in the school. 

Fourth, of the 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, only two 
schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms. 

Fifth, there was a culture of cheating at D.H. Stanton. Chari Cowan testified that she was 
instructed to cheat on the CRCT writing test. Many teachers spoke of conversations of cheating 
at D.H. Stanton. If teachers heard these conversations. Principal Davenport probably did also, 
yet she did nothing. 

Last, test security was poor at D.H. Stanton. Testing Coordinator Francis Mack admitted 
to leaving CRCT materials unattended in her unlocked office. Moreover, an eyewitness saw the 
CRCT answer sheets spread across Mack's desk when she was out of the building. 

B. Narrative 

The attendance clerk, Carmen Smith, entered Francis Mack's office at Principal 
Davenport's direction when Mack was absent and discovered tests and answer sheets spread out 
on the desk and table. The clerk reported the discovery to Principal Davenport and was told to 
retrieve the tests. By the time Smith returned to Mack's office to retrieve the test materials, she 
found that the tests had been gathered up. Smith suspected that Davenport directed another 
teacher, Valerie Hall, to remove the tests and answer sheets from Mack's office. 

Carmen Smith confessed to altering attendance logs at the direction of Principal 
Davenport, who threatened her with termination if she did not comply. 

Principal Davenport created an atmosphere ripe for cheating by applying pressure on 
teachers to improve test scores. Teachers were told exactly how many students in their class had 



169 



to pass the CRCT. Some teachers prompted students during testing, and some gave students the 



answers. 



A Carmen Smith (A (tendance Clerk) 

Carmen Smith testified that Principal Davenport gave her the key to Francis Mack's 
office and asked Smith to locate a form. Mack was absent from school that day. Carmen Smith 
opened Francis Mack's office and saw test booklets and answer sheets spread out on Mack's 
desk and on an adjacent table. Smith left immediately, reported her discovery to Principal 
Davenport and asked if she should retrieve the tests from Mack's office. Davenport told her to 
retrieve the tests but did not appear concerned. Smith was stopped by someone m the hall on the 
way to Mack's office. By the time she arrived at Mack's office, she found the desk and table 
cleaned off and the test materials were gone. Carmen Smith suspected that Principal Davenport 
sent someone to waylay her in the hallway and ordered Valerie Hall to collect the tests from 
Mack's office She believed it was Valerie Hall who retrieved the tests because Hall had a key 
to Mack's office. Smith believed that Mack and Hall erased and changed answers with Principal 
Davenport' s knowledge. Smith stated that Mack "ran" the school. 

Principal Davenport ordered her to change attendance logs in 2009 to mark certain 
students "presenf who were absent. Smith complied with Davenport's orders because she was 
threatened with termination. 

Teachers at D.H. Stanton, including Erica Turman, Valerie Hall, and Pamela Kirkland 
Pearson prompted students with answers, changed students' answers, and gave answers to 
students. Principal Davenport and Francis Mack pressured teachers about test scores and making 
targets. 

Principal Davenport was training Francis Mack to become principal at D.H Stanton after 
Davenport retired. Davenport and Mack were close and believed Davenport wanted Mack to 
become principal to enable cheating to continue. She filed an OIR complaint against Davenport, 
Mack, and SRT-2 Executive Director Michael Pitts to try to prevent Mack from becoming a 
principal. 

2. LaVerne Nash (Proctor) 

LaVerne Nash was a proctor in 2009. During the 2009 CRCT testing week, Nash saw 
test booklets on Francis Mack's desk. Mack's office was open, but she was not in her office. 
Nash thought that was odd because the test booklets were to be secured at all times. 

Although she lacked proof, Nash believed that Principal Davenport may have instructed 
Mack to change test answers because Davenport was always trying to "make the floor." She 
believed that Mack changed the tests with the help of Valerie Hall and Erica Turman because 
they always stayed late after school during testing. 



170 



3. Chari Cowan (Teacher) 



Chari Cowan was a fifth grade teacher in 2009. She recalled that in 2009, Francis Mack 
called Cowan to her office and directed her to look at a document on her desk. Cowan 
recognized the document as the "prompt" for the upcoming Fifth Grade Writing Test. She 
refused to review the document further or to use the information on the document. Cowan felt 
she was being "set up" by Mack because when she had previously questioned Mack and 
Principal Davenport about how students were able to progress to the fifth grade or pass the 
CRCT without being able to read, she was met with verbal abuse from them. 

Cowan stated that at least half of her 2009 class of 16 boys could barely read but 
somehow passed the summer CRCT and went on to sixth grade. When she asked them how they 
had passed in previous grades, they told her that teachers Valerie Hall and Cassandra Driger had 
given them the answers. 

Pamela Kirkland Pearson told Cowan in 2009 that she overheard Francis Mack, Erica 
Turman and Valerie Hall discussing how they were going to change the test scores. Pearson 
stated that Tracy Jones- Salifu also overheard that conversation. 

4. Tracy Jones-Salifii (Math Coach) 

Principal Davenport told Tracy Jones-Salifii that she would not have a job if the school 
did not meet targets. Davenport said "what am I going to tell Mr. Pitts if you don't meet 
targets?" Davenport was threatening and abusive to everyone except Francis Mack. It was 
important to teachers and administrators that D.H. Stanton "make the floor" at Convocation. 
Jones-Salifu heard that third and fifth grade teachers gave answers to students and changed 
wrong answers in 2009. 

Jones-Salifu said that Pamela Kirkland Pearson used to be friends with Principal 
Davenport, Francis Mack and Valerie Hall until Pearson "decided not to cheat anymore " Jones- 
Salifu stated that Pearson came to her in tears reporting that Valerie Hall and Francis Mack told 
Pearson that she needed to "buy into the plan" of how to cheat on the 2010 CRCT. Pearson was 
ostracized when she refused to cheat. 

Chari Cowan said that Francis Mack left the prompts for the Fifth Grade Writing Test on 
the desk in her office for Cowan to use, but Cowan refused to take the information. 

Jones-Salifu believed there was cheating in 2009-2010 by Mack and others accessing the 
tests during the CRCT make-up test. Jones-Salifu said that Valerie Hall had a key to Mack's 
office. Jones-Salifu stated that cheating may have occurred in 2009-2010 because Mack arranged 
the schedule to allow friends to test each others' class. She stated that Erica Turman tested 
Valerie Hall's class, and Michelle Martin tested Turman's class. 

5. Remika Smith (Reading Coach & Co-Testing Coordinator) 

Remika Smith was the reading coach and the "co-test coordinator" with Francis Mack in 
2009. Mack suggested cheating. Mack's friends participated in the cheating, including Valerie 
Hall, Erica Turman, Cassandra Driger, and Pamela Kirkland Pearson. There had been a falling 
out between Mack and Pearson. Pearson was reported to use voice inflection to prompt students. 



171 



Principal Davenport pressured the teachers to meet targets and told them that certain numbers of 
students must pass. 

Testimony of Individuals Imp licated 



D 



fPrirtcipal) 



&?£?52£tt£!£2™ «"">r MMm 10 lie " 60 "' her 

She thought that Carmen Smith had a rivalry with Francis Mack. 

Principal Davenport thought that targets were realistic and state d that no one Jiad ever 
complained to her that they could not be achieved. She denied any allegations of cheating. She 
did not understand how anyone could claim she was involved in cheating. 

2. Francis Mac k (Te.sti.nv Coordinator) 

We interviewed Francis Mack twice. She was represented by ggj 
TMtin „ r,wflinaror for the 2009 CRCT, only one year after coming to D.H. Stanton, in ner nrsi 
2S«We erase, and Ranged answers on the CRCT. Mac 
SeTaLs thai tests and answer sheets were seen in her affte She claimed ha t the, « e 
Sin he office it was because she had to fill in student denuficanon 

Ponied this task tfNMM £££ 
in 2009 because A^*"-** JJ " * sheets were in her office then she was in 

asked why someone would report seeing answer sheets spread out m her office, Mack 
Carmen Smith had lied about her in tl 



Mack stated that only she, Principal Davenport, and the custodian had keys to Mack's 
office U wns mportan to Principal Davenport to "make the floor" and she told teachers to do 

coordinator. 

When Mack was interviewed a second time, she stated that ^^^E^S 
SfiSS the building at night and letl around 630 p.m. 

4:00 p.m. Valerie Hall and Mack became fnends in 2009 and anyone who said Hall had a key 
Mack's office was lying. 

She staled for the first time that her "co-test coordinator," Remika Smith, would have 
ane dwiw ^,j Artt tn infnrmatinn on test forms unless Smith was 



172 



2009 when test sheets were in her office. Mack recalled filling in the student ID information on 
the answer sheets with Remika Smith in the media center, not in her office. She claimed she 
never had answer sheets in her office, but admitted she may have carried a few to her office 
when she needed to look up information on her computer. Mack stated that she and Principal 
Davenport are not friends but only have a working relationship. She disputed that Principal 
Davenport had been grooming her to be the next principal of D.H. Stanton. 

Carmen Smith filed a false OIR report against her after she confronted Smith about 
reports from teachers that Smith was altering attendance records. Smith told her she was doing it 
under orders but would not tell her who instructed her to change the records. Carmen Smith was 
incompetent. She thought Carmen Smith was out to get her. She insisted that she would not 
cheat for Principal Davenport. She reiterated that she had no motive to change answers. When 
asked who had motive to change answers, she said if anyone changed answers it could be 
Carmen Smith, Remika Smith, and Tracy Jones-Salifu. She felt that people were trying to 
undermine her. Ultimately, she thought that the children were responsible for the erasures. 

3. Valerie Hall (Teacher) 

Valerie Hall denied changing answers, prompting students, providing answers, or doing 
anything wrong. She was aware that people thought she had a key to Mack's office, and that she 
and Mack changed answers. She admitted to being friends with Mack, but denied having a key 
and changing answers. 

Hall was flagged in all subjects. She stated that her students erased due to the testing 
strategies she taught them. When she was confronted with data about her students' erasures, she 
agreed that the numbers looked odd but had no explanation for the erasures other than her testing 
strategies. Hall was aware that people thought she cheated during the 2010 CRCT as well, which 
she found surprising. 

4. Pamela Kirkland Pearson (Teacher) 

Pamela Kirkland Pearson was a first grade teacher in 2009, and was flagged in language 
arts and math. She denied changing answers, prompting students or giving answers to students. 
Pearson received threatening phone calls from Davenport and Mack in the summer of 2010 in 
which they cursed her and accused her of telling people that she had seen them with the tests. 

Principal Davenport pressured teachers to improve their students' scores and wanted 
"100%" from all first grade teachers. Davenport told each teacher how many students she 
wanted to pass the test. Regarding our investigation, Principal Davenport and Francis Mack told 
her to "be careful what you say. Your license is on the line." 

Pearson believed there was cheating on the 2010 CRCT, and that it was accomplished in 
part by teachers administering the test to their friends' classes. 

5. Erica Turman (T eacher) 

Erica Turman taught fifth grade in 2009. Turman did not believe Mack would change 
answers. She claimed she would never erase answers at Mack's request and questioned why 
people claimed they were friends. 



173 



Turman was flagged in all subjects. She did not recall her students erasing as much as 
the data indicated but denied she had cheated. Some students claimed that Turman gave them 
answers to the test in 2010, but Turman denied the allegations. 

She said in APS, pressure came "from the top." She stated that if you can't "produce 
scores" you might be moved from a critical grade to another one. 

Turman was interviewed by Stan Williams from the Office of Internal Resolution (OIR) 
about cheating complaints after we instructed APS to stop further investigations into the CRCT 
allegations. Turman stated that OIR was convinced she had cheated and that Williams 
interviewed her for three to four hours and shouted at her. 

6. Cassandra Driver (Teacher) 

Cassandra Driger taught fourth grade in 2009. She was flagged in all subjects, but denied 
cheating, She had no explanation for the erasures in her class. She stated that there was a lot of 
pressure to have students pass the CRCT. Targets were considered a "big deal" because there 
was money associated with meeting them. Driger was transferred from fourth grade to second 
grade in August 2010, due to low test scores. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

Principal Davenport directed Carmen Smith to falsify attendance records. 

We also conclude that Principal Davenport pressured teachers to meet targets and raise 
test scores. She created an environment for cheating by exerting pressure on teachers to ensure 
that specific numbers of students passed the test. When a witness discovered tests and answer 
sheets spread out in Mack's office, Davenport attempted to prevent the witness from retrieving 
the materials. We conclude that Principal Willie Davenport directed and facilitated cheating on 
the CRCT and Testing Coordinator Francis Mack orchestrated a scheme to erase and change 
student answer sheets. Some teachers provided answers to students in 2009 and other years. 

We conclude that Principal Willie Davenport failed in her ultimate responsibility for 
testing activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for, the 2009 
CRCT. It is our conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this 
investigation that Principal Davenport failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately 
supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, 
falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



174 



FINCH ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1 1 14 Avon Av«imc Principal; Dr. Undn Paden SRT- 1 Bwtutive Dirtier: Dr. Sharon Davi«-Willianto 

Allantn, Cieargin 303 10 Testing Coordinator; SlwiEa Maxwell 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Finch Elementary in 2009. Twenty-five people were 
interviewed at this school, some more than once. Three teachers confessed to cheating. 
Cheating at Finch is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, confessions, and witness 
testimony. Principal Linda Paden failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

H. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2(110 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Iirasuies 


48 


10.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged lor WTR Erasures 




8 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard 1 Aviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


14(12) 


5(2) 


Mean Wl'R Standard Deviations from Suite Norm 


OA 


m 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


12,5 


6,9 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3 


3.3 



175 



B. Flag ged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 
Test 


Standard 
Dcvisitiun 


FT ORENCL 


1 RD 




m .ORENCE J LLA 4- 


JO. lySMtjy 


FLORENCE 


1 MA 




WILLIAMS 


I RD 


'1.998094435 


WILLIAMS 




7.95 /l-> J 'U / 


WILLIAMS 


1 MA 




COLLIER 


2 RD 


q,o4ojy loco 


COLLIER 


2 LA 


f.j&4if*r f t 


COLLIER 


2 MA 


1 1 .29655K7H 


DANIEL 


2 RD 


^ /' r 7 C *4 4 ^1 ^ OrfC 

3r6754442oD 


DANIEL 


2 LA 




DANIEL 


2 MA 


5.179S03&4/ 


MAY 


2 RD 


o 1 /;T7 3 .nilS 
J. 1(U /J4i'JJ 


MAY 


2 MA 


4, nxwyjooo 


SHORTER 


2 RD 




SHORTER 


2 LA 


4.W.1V IptwHfi 


SHORTER 


2 MA 


6.9437052U3 


1 THOMAS WILSON 


2 RD 




THOMAS WILSON 


2 LA 


4.v.*2»3^nn£ 


THOMAS WILSON 


2 MA 


1 l.26y4y6/3 


GATES 


3 RD 


6.53453&IU1 


JACKSON 1 


3 RD 


/.« / /Ojoyo/ 


JACKSON 


3 LA 




SIMS 


3 RD 


4.136286631 


SIMS 




3.011752305 


KTMS 




4.721896378 


FULLER . 


4 RD 


7.710450651 


FULLER 


4 LA 


4.5-16424278 


FULLER 


•1 MA 


4.27940952 


RICHARDS 


4 RD 


3.5223442 


RICHARDS 


4 I, A 


4.121365048 


1 RICHARDS 


4 MA 


4.807330648 


WOODS 


4 RD 


£823352397 


SCOTT 


5 RD 


12.47303933 


SCO IT 


5 LA 


8.177833943 


SCOTT 


5 MA 


8.846474026 



ILL ci i ivi ivt A RV OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Finch Elementary School was 
not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First the percentage of flagged classrooms is 48% for the 2009 CRCT With state 
monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped significantly, from 48% 
to 10.3%. 

Second of the ^6 flagged classrooms at Finch, 20 (55% of the total) had standard 
deviation^ hat Welded f.ve.^nd four classrooms exceeded ten standard demons ^ At five 
standard deviations the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
E^ti^ditaB, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard delations the 
probab 1 ty s no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviafons trom the state 
ml wefe, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at Fmch. 



176 



Third is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Finch, 73% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 48% of 
the total classrooms in the school. 

Finally, Principal Paden expected her teachers to cheat, She allowed teachers to take 
their CRCT materials to their classrooms after the testing period. Three teachers confessed to 
cheating. Principal Paden knew of and directed cheating on the 2009 CRCT at Finch Elementary 
School. 

B. Narrative 

Three teachers confessed to cheating. Two teachers pointed to answers, re-read 
questions, or used other cues to ensure their students chose correct answers. One teacher 
confessed to erasing and changing answers in the principal's conference room where teachers 
were gathered by grade levels to erase stray marks. The testing coordinator, Sheila Maxwell, 
supervised the room where stray marks were erased but claimed to be too busy to notice what 
teachers were actually erasing. 

Principal Linda Paden was on a PDP and told teachers if she was on a PDP, they would 
also be on a PDP. Teachers who cheated did so out of fear of negative evaluations or job loss if 
they failed to improve test scores. Principal Paden told them, "Walmart's hiring." The pressure 
exerted by Principal Paden on her staff to meet targets, raise test scores, and "push the children" 
created an environment conducive to cheating. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Ashley Daniel (Teacher) 

Ashley Daniel confessed to cheating in 2009. She was flagged for high wrong-to-right 
erasures in all subjects. Teachers were called to the principal's conference room by grade level 
for the purpose of erasing stray marks. All second grade teachers were present. In her first 
interview she stated that she erased stray marks and darkened in circles if they were light. If two 
answers were marked and she could tell which one was darker, she would erase the lighter 
colored answer. After Daniel was informed that the evidence indicated she was responsible for 
changing answers she initially admitted responsibility for the erasures, but then stated she "really 
did not change" answers. Daniel repeatedly confessed and recanted. 

At her second interview, Daniel admitted she changed answers during the time that stray 
marks were being erased in the conference room. She believed that other teachers also changed 
answers. The second grade teachers, and first grade teachers Joya Florence, Richanda Williams, 
and Curtis Collier were present. 

Daniel said that there were several reasons teachers would cheat. Principal Paden linked 
test scores to evaluations, and told Daniel that she needed better scores to get a better evaluation. 
Scores were posted at faculty meetings and teachers were singled out in front of their colleagues. 
Principal Paden threatened teachers in a meeting, and told them if she was going to be on a PDP, 
then they should be on one also. Principal Paden made threatening statements, like "The door 
swings both ways," and "Walmart is hiring." 



177 



2. Danielle Jackson (Teacher) 



Danielle Jackson confessed to cheating on the CRCT by prompting her students to 
change answers from wrong to right. She gave extra attention to students having difficulty 
during the test For example, she pointed to questions and nodded her head if an answer was 
wrong, and sometimes reiterated a learning point such as "you know I taught you about 
pronouns.. ." If a student finished a section too quickly, she instructed the student to look at the 
questions again, and sometimes encouraged them to erase the answers if she noticed they were 
wrong. She believed her actions resulted in students changing answers from wrong to right 

Jackson recalled that when she turned in her tests at the end of the day she was asked by 
either Maxwell or Paden, on more than one occasion, if she needed her tests back after lunch. 
She did not understand why she would need her tests back after lunch and said no. She later 
learned that first and second grade teachers were allowed to test under a different schedule that 
permitted testing before and after lunch. Jackson taught third grade. She heard that first and 
second grade teachers spent a long time in the conference room "erasing stray marks," and stated 
that it became a joke around the school. 

She was surprised that two or three students who did not read well passed the CRCT. 

There was great pressure on teachers to have their students get high test scores. Principal 
Paden publicized teachers' scores in faculty meetings and if a teacher did not do well they would 
be told to seek the advice of a teacher with higher scores, a practice which teachers found 
humiliating. Principal Paden told Jackson on the first day of testing that SRT-l Executive 
Director Sharon Davis-Williams was watching Jackson and knew that her test scores were low. 

3. Richanda Williams (Teacher) 

Richanda Williams confessed to prompting her students to erase and change answers, 
She read the question twice to her students, walked by their desks, and if she saw several 
students marking the wrong answer she read the question a third time. She stated that if her 
"smarter students" were marking wrong answers, then she knew the others were missing the 
answer as well. Williams claimed that she did not use voice inflection, but raised her voice and 
told the class to "stay focused." 

Williams stated that she and other teachers were called by grade level to erase stray 
marks, but denied changing any answers. Williams admitted that if the answer was not 
completely bubbled in they would fill in the rest. She understood that to be "standard procedure 
but did not know where she got that understanding. If an answer was not sufficiently erased, she 
would erase it more completely. Williams estimated she was in the room about 30 minutes. 
Principal Paden came in and out of the conference room while tests were being "cleaned." 

Williams stated that there was a lot of pressure at staff meetings to meet targets. 
Principal Paden stressed that they had to "move the children" along. 



178 



4. Sharona Thomas-Wilson (Teacher) 



Sharona Thomas-Wilson denied cheating and had no explanation for the high number of 
wrong-to-right erasures in her class. She stated that during the 2009 CRCT, her class finished 
early on the first day so she tried to turn in her tests. Principal Paden offered to let her take the 
tests back to her class and give the students more time. Thomas-Wilson declined and turned in 
her test materials. Teachers Melissa May and Curtis Collier also finished early and were present 
during the exchange. Principal Paden threatened to write them up for creating a testing 
irregularity by finishing the test early. Testing Coordinator Sheila Maxwell communicated the 
same message later. On the second day, Principal Paden instructed Thomas-Wilson to test her 
students from 9:00-10:30 a.m. only on section one of the test, then stop for lunch and turn in the 
tests. The schedule change allowed the students an extra 30 minutes to complete section one. 
After lunch the students were to start section two of the test and work until they were finished. 
Thomas-Wilson had to follow the altered schedule for days two and three of testing. 

The teachers cleaned stray marks in the conference room after testing. Thomas-Wilson 
recalled being in the room "about an hour" and stated that other second grade teachers were in 
the room, including Curtis Collier. She believed the only reason Collier might have denied being 
in the room was because it might be viewed as an opportunity to erase answers. Principal Paden 
and Maxwell were present when the teachers entered the room, but Principal Paden left shortly 
thereafter. Maxwell entered and exited the room periodically, leaving the teachers alone with the 
tests. 

Thomas- Wilson testified that when she started at Finch she inflated students' grades to 
C's because Principal Paden made it known that she did not want students to receive D's or F's. 
Later she was told by Paden that she needed to change the C's to even higher grades because a C 
implied that Finch was average. Thomas-Wilson felt she could not make the grade higher 
because she had already given C's to some students who deserved D's or F's. 

In 2009, a student told Thomas-Wilson that a teacher who is no longer at Finch provided 
answers during a previous CRCT. Thomas-Wilson had questioned the student about his decline 
in performance between first and second grade, which she found strange because the material 
was basically the same. The student said his previous teacher gave the student answers and told 
classmates to "look on each others tests." Thomas- Wilson said that she had a number of students 
in the past who could not read but passed the CRCT. 

5. Veatris Wright (Teacher) 

Veatris Wright was a third grade teacher in 2009. Wright now teaches second grade 
because she was demoted for having low test scores on the 2009 CRCT, She said that she felt a 
lot of pressure but she did not cheat. When the 2009 CRCT scores came back, Principal Paden 
called Wright to her office and told her that her scores were the worst on her grade level. Wright 
explained that she had a tough class that year and had a problem with some of the girls being 
bullies. Principal Paden told her that SRT-1 Executive Director Davis- Williams "didn't want to 
hear any of that." She was told that her scores were not low enough to be placed on a PDP, but if 
the scale should change Wright would be notified. She and other teachers were threatened on 
more than one occasion with a PDP for low test scores. Principal Paden said she knew that 



179 



Wright was being considered for tenure and that her scores had better be good. One week into 
the summer. Principal Paden called Wright and told her she was being moved back a grade. 
Wright knew it was due to low test scores. Another teacher was also moved back a grade for low 
scores. 

Wright stated that teachers were called to the conference room at the end of testing to 
erase stray marks. She did not cheat or observe anyone else cheating. She was asked on more 
than one occasion by Principal Paden and Testing Coordinator Sheila Maxwell if she needed her 
tests back after lunch. Wright heard that answers were being changed, but had no specific 
information. 

Vcatris Wright stated that every year she had one or two students coming into her class 
who could not read but who had exceeded standards on the prior year's CRCT. 

D. Testimony of Additional Witnesses 

1. Curtis Collier (Teacher) 

Curtis Collier attempted to turn in his test materials early but was told to take them back 
to his class because it was "too early " He did not re-distribute the tests to the students, he just 
returned the tests later. Collier denied entering the room when stray marks were being erased. 

2. Melissa May (Teacher) 

Melissa May denied cheating on the CRCT. She stated that during the 2009 CRCT she, 
Thomas-Wilson and Collier, attempted to turn in their test materials and were told it was "too 
early" and they should take the tests back to their classrooms. May went back to her room and 
placed the materials on a table. She recalled that teachers erased stray marks in the conference 
room and that Collier, Thomas-Wilson, Tyrone Shorter and Ashley Daniel were present. May 
stayed "about ten minutes" and Collier finished before her and left. 

Principal Paden told May that teachers would be put on a PDP if their test scores were 

low. 

3. Joy a Florence (Teacher) 

Joya Florence stated that teachers were called to the conference room by grade level to 
erase stray marks. She became distressed when we informed her that there seemed to be a 
correlation between schools where groups get together to erase stray marks and schools where 
systematic cheating occurred. However, she denied changing answers or seeing others change 
answers. When Florence was told in a follow-up interview that the evidence suggested she had 
changed answers on her students' tests, she became emotional. She stated that she had been 
dealing with a difficult student all day and wanted to go home. 

4. Demiris Gates (Teacher) 

Demiris Gates denied cheating or having knowledge of cheating. Teachers were called to 
the conference room by grade level to erase stray marks. APS created an environment regarding 



180 



test scores in which teachers "must make it happen." Students must pass the test and scores must 
keep rising. He knew that Principal Paden was on a PDP for low test scores. Gates was 
surprised one of his students passed the CRCT. 

5. Tyrone Shorter (Teacher) 

Tyrone Shorter recalled that Collier and May tried to turn in their tests early but were not 
allowed to do so by Sheila Maxwell. Shorter stated that at the end of testing the teachers were 
called by grade level to erase stray marks. He acknowledged that he was in the room when stray 
marks were erased but denied making any erasures, even when told that others contradicted this 
statement. Shorter stated that Maxwell asked him, when he was leaving the room, if he had 
"checked the test " He told her yes, but she repeated the question two more times. Shorter 
believed that she was trying to convince him to change answers. Principal Paden and Maxwell 
did not get along because Principal Paden wanted things done a certain way, and Maxwell tried 
to "uphold proper testing procedures " 

Shorter did not get along with Principal Paden because after he asked questions in faculty 
meetings, she transferred him from fourth to second grade for "challenging her authority." When 
contacted for a follow-up interview, Shorter stated he was concerned about the consequences of 
being truthful, and was concerned that his answers might jeopardize his teaching certificate. 
Shorter told us he wanted to consult his attorney before speaking again to us. When Shorter 
appeared with counsel at a subsequent interview, he stated that he had already answered 
questions and refused to answer any more. 

6. Walda Jefferson (Math Coach) 

Walda Jefferson was the math coach in 2009. When shown the list of flagged teachers, 
she stated she was not surprised at many of the names on the list. She thought the test scores 
were high and that some students were passing the math portion when they clearly did not grasp 
the fundamentals and scored low on pretests. It was obvious someone cheated because the test 
scores did not reflect the ability of the students. She had students transfer in from Gideons, 
Peyton Forest, Venetian Hills and other schools who exceeded standards on the math portion of 
the CRCT but could not perform single-digit addition. 

7. Lincoln Woods (Teacher) 

Lincoln Woods denied any knowledge of cheating and stated that he did not go to the 
conference room to erase stray marks. He stated he did not feel pressure for his students to do 
well on the CRCT. 

8. Charlotte Scotl (Teacher) 

Charlotte Scott denied cheating. Scott had no explanation for her wrong-to-right 
erasures. 



181 



E. 



Testimony of Individuals Implicated 



/. Sheila Maxwell (Testing Coordinator) 

Sheila Maxwell was the Testing Coordinator at Finch in 2009. She never witnessed 
cheating in classrooms and did not know when it could possibly occur. People would not cheat 
around her because they knew that she would report it. She did not recall asking teachers if they 
needed more time or if Principal Paden asked teachers either. She did not know why anyone 
would make that statement and speculated that teachers may have been confused. 

Maxwell said she was a "stickler" for protocol and procedure. Erasing stray marks was a 
common procedure and mandated by the state. It was her job to supervise that procedure. She 
called teachers down to the principal's conference room by grade level after the testing was 
completed. The tests were stacked on the table and labeled with the appropriate teacher's name. 
Teachers were directed to their stack, given a pencil, and told to "clean the tests." She said that 
the third, fourth and fifth grade teachers only had the answer sheets when erasing; the test 
booklets were in a separate stack, 

Maxwell admitted it was possible for a teacher to see that two answers were bubbled in 
and erase the lighter one if it appeared that it had not been completely erased. She said it was 
important to make sure that stray marks were erased completely so that they could not be picked 
up by the machine that grades the tests. After stressing the importance of that procedure, 
Maxwell claimed that she never checked the tests to make sure that stray marks were actually 
erased. She insisted that teachers were simply asked to clean the tests; whether they actually did 
so was up to them. She stated that she did not have time to sit and watch the teachers while they 
erased, because she was too busy packing tests and filling out paperwork at the side of the room. 
Her focus, she said, was to ensure that all the test materials were prepared and packed. She 
would glance over and see that teachers had pencils and were erasing. Principal Paden was "in 
and out of the room" while stray marks were being erased. 

Maxwell could not recall how long teachers were in the room, but thought they spent 
only eight to 12 minutes erasing stray marks. She denied that any teacher spent an hour erasing 
stray marks. She did not recall any teacher refusing to report to the room to erase stray marks. 
She recalled that all teachers reported to the conference room. 

Maxwell and Principal Paden had professional difficulties. She filed a complaint with 
OIR against Principal Paden, alleging that Paden had pressured her to sign a form attesting that 
the CRCT materials were stored in the vault, which Maxwell stated was not true. Paden was 
known to lie. Maxwell felt that she was ostracized for standing up to Principal Paden and filing 
a complaint. She was put on a PDP by Principal Paden. She recalled Paden stating, "If I'm on a 
PDP, you're going to be on a PDP," and "Walmart is hiring." It was important to Principal 
Paden to meet targets and "make the floor." 

2. Linda Paden (Principal) 

We interviewed Linda Paden two times and she was represented by counsel. Principal 
Paden stated she was not aware of cheating and that no reports of cheating had been brought to 
her attention. Regarding Testing Coordinator Sheila Maxwell's allegations in the OTR 



182 



complaint, Principal Paden claimed that Maxwell was mistaken that the test materials were not 
stored in the school vault. Principal Paden explained that in 2009, she decided "for some reason" 
to have the test materials placed in the school vault upon delivery to the school, instead of the 
conference room where they were usually kept. She said that the next day they were moved to 
the conference room, but Maxwell was probably not aware they were originally in the vault. The 
only reason she asked Maxwell to sign the form certifying the tests were placed into the vault 
when received at Finch was because SRT-1 Executive Director Davis-Williams wanted her 
signature in addition to the principal's. Principal Paden denied "pressuring" Maxwell to sign the 
form. 

Principal Paden admitted that she had been placed on a PDP more than once by Davis- 
Williams for not meeting targets. She is presently on a PDP. She would not say if she felt 
pressure to meet targets. She denied pressuring teachers to meet targets, stating that the pressure 
was just their "perception." Her teachers knew she was on a PDP. She denied threatening to put 
teachers on PDPs for not meeting targets. She admitted telling teachers she "may" have to put 
them on PDP's but claimed she never put anyone on one. She denied telling teachers that 
"Walrnart is hiring." She recalled somebody else saying that. Paden denied ever telling a 
teacher to change a grade. 

When asked why teachers were offered more time with the tests and told they could not 
turn them in early, Principal Paden speculated that teachers who finished early may have been 
sent back to their class if the testing coordinator had not gotten to the conference room to receive 
the tests. She admitted coming in and out of the conference room while stray marks were erased 
from answer sheets by teachers. She could not recall if teachers had the test booklets in addition 
to the answer sheets. 

F. Other Evidence 

• In 2007-2008, Finch met AYP and received the APS 2008 Bronze Award 
for Greatest Gain in Percentage of Students Meeting and Exceeding 
Standards. 

• In 2008-2009, Finch met AYP and was a "distinguished school " 

• In 2009-2010, Finch did not meet AYP or district targets. 

• Principal Linda Paden was consistently on PDPs for low test scores and 
not meeting targets. She could not recall how often her targets had been 
met. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that cheating occurred on the 2009 CRCT at Finch. Danielle Jackson, 
Richanda Williams, and Ashley Daniel confessed to cheating. Daniel believes that other 
teachers were also erasing answers. Other teachers denied cheating; however, based upon the 
statistical improbability of the erasures in their classrooms and the inconsistent testimony 



183 



provided by them, we conclude that Sharona Thomas-Wilson, Curtis Collier, Joya Florence, and 
Tyrone Shorter also cheated. 

While there is no evidence that Testing Coordinator Sheila Maxwell or Principal Paden 
erased and changed students' answers themselves, Maxwell's actions facilitated cheating when 
the tests were in her custody. Principal Paden and Sheila Maxwell improperly offered teachers 
more time with the tests and refused to allow those who finished testing early to turn in the tests, 
which allowed time to cheat. Maxwell was adamant that stray marks had to be cleared from the 
tests, yet backed away from responsibility for verifying that it had been done. She seemed to 
recall that all teachers reported to the conference room, yet claimed not to notice what they were 
erasing in her presence. Her lack of supervision and apparent willingness to turn a blind eye 
facilitated cheating by at least one teacher who confessed that she erased in the presence of her 
peers. 

It is our conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence that Principal Paden 
failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately supervise testing activities and test 
security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously 
reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



184 



COAN MIDDLE SCHOOL 

1550 Hosea L. Williams Dr. NE Principal: Dr. Andre Williams SRT-3 Executive Director: Dr. Gloria Patterson 

Atlanta, GA 30317-1902 Testing Coordinator: Wayne Campbell 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Coan Middle in 2009. Twenty-one people were 
interviewed at Coan, some more than once. One teacher confessed to cheating. Cheating at 
Coan is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, a confession, and witness testimony. 
Principal Andre Williams failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


31.4 


3.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


16 


2 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


8(4) 


2 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


18.1 


3.2 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


33 


3.2 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


10,8 


3.2 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


BARNETT 


6 RD 


23.01393141 


HARNETT 


6 LA 


20.28747089 


BARNETT 


6 MA 


23. 00039919 


HAWK 


6 MA 


24.79023205 


SOUTH. ALL 


6 MA 


33.06486997 


STUCKEY 


6 RD 


10.81191503 


STUCKEY 


6 LA 


11.28838549 


STUCKEY 


C: MA 


12 52164359 


LARE 


7 MA 


23,74792961 


TOLIVER 


7 MA 


28,63176724 


USHRY 


7RD 


14 46301261 


USHRY 


7 LA 


13.28241752 


USHRY 


7 MA 


15 17633931 


WALLER 


8 RD 


12.51678332 


WALLER 


8 LA 


11.5333268 


WALLER 


8 MA 


11 74704368 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several significant facts which point to the conclusion that Coan Middle School 
was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 



185 



First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 31.4% for the 2009 CRCT. With state 
monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped significantly from 
3 1.4% to 3.3%. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the State of Georgia taking the 
2009 CRCT, only 21 schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Coan Middle 
School. 

Third, of the 16 flagged classrooms at Coan, all 16 had standard deviations that exceeded 
ten. At ten standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without 
adult intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the 
deviations from the state mean were, for all of the classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on 
a broad scale at Coan Middle School. 

Fourth, is the individual student wrong-to- right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures 74% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 31.4% of the 
total classrooms in the school. 

Finally, Principal Andre Williams created an environment that encouraged cheating. He 
threatened teachers with PDPs if CRCT scores did not improve. Classroom doors were closed 
during testing, giving teachers privacy needed to cheat. He allowed teachers to instruct the 
parents of low-performing students to keep their children home from school during CRCT 
testing so teachers could cheat for those students. 

B. Narrative 

In 2009, special education teachers at Coan cheated during the administration of the 
CRCT by using voice inflection, pointing out key words, or teaching the CRCT as if it were a 
class lesson. Teachers also improperly allowed students additional time to complete the CRCT. 
Teachers cheated because they feared job loss or being placed on aPDP for low test scores. 

Coan students struggled in math and Principal Andre Williams constantly emphasized 
improving math scores. Ron Washington, who served as testing coordinator while Dr. Wayne 
Campbell was on leave, was the lead special education teacher. Washington instructed at least 
one teacher to call parents and tell them to keep their child at home during testing or to bring 
them later in the day for makeup testing. These students were typically lower performing 
students, but not those with testing accommodations. The teacher explained to the parents that 
the children could not test with his or her regular class due to "behavioral issues." A teacher 
observed Washington, Dr. Campbell, and Principal Williams' cars at the school late one evening 
during test week. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Alicia Waller (Teacher) 

Alicia Waller stated that Washington, the lead special education teacher and the acting 
test coordinator for the first two days of the 2009 CRCT testing period, instructed her to call 
parents of children she feared would perform poorly, and tell them to either keep their child 



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home from school during testing or to send them to school late. Washington told Waller that she 
should test these "late" or "absent" students in a small group, make-up session outside of their 
regular class. Waller tested those students in a small group on multiple occasions. 

Waller saw Washington's, Principal Williams' and Testing Coordinator Campbell's 
vehicles at the school late one evening during test week. 

Test booklets and answer documents remained in the school long after testing ended. 
During one year, Waller was told to give a student a test after make-up testing was already over. 

Principal Williams told Waller to make sure that all students passed the test. Waller 
confessed to using voice inflection, pointing out key words and using strategic pauses to prompt 
her students to answer correctly. When one particular student did not pick up on her voice 
inflection, Waller admitted helping out that student more than the others. Waller could prompt 
students in this way, since classroom doors remained closed during testing. Waller also admitted 
to allowing students more time than was allotted for the test because no one monitored the time. 

Waller witnessed another special education teacher, Johnson Stuckey, prompting his 
students to the right answers on the CRCT. Stuckey sat down at a table with his students and 
administered the CRCT as if it were a lesson. Stuckey told Waller that he was doing this 
because Principal Williams wanted the students to pass and that they had to do this in order to 
make AYP. 

Waller said Principal Williams put tremendous pressure on the teachers. He threatened 
teachers constantly with PDPs, and people who did not comply with administrators' wishes were 
transferred to other schools. Waller lived in fear every year that her contract would not be 
renewed. 

2. Cynthia Ushry (Teacher) 

Cynthia Ushry stated she was not at school during testing in 2008-2009 because she was 
in the hospital. She could not understand how her class was flagged if she was not at the school. 
Ushry heard that Principal Williams solicited people to stay at school after hours and help 
change the tests. According to Ushry, Ron Washington and Principal Williams were very close. 
Ushry recalled parents coming to the school complaining about being told to keep their children 
home during the CRCT. 

3. Francine Greer (Assistant Principal) 

Francine Greer said Principal Williams put pressure on teachers to make targets. Greer 
wondered how certain schools were able to make targets and she noticed that, over time, more 
and more schools seemed to be hitting targets. She voiced concerns that the closet in Dr. 
Campbell's office where the tests were stored was accessible by a master key. She raised this 
question during an administrative meeting where Williams, Campbell and Washington were 
present. Greer felt that they did not take her concerns seriously, but eventually the lock was re- 
keyed. Greer denied that any students not entitled to special testing accommodation were tested 
in small groups, She has no knowledge of administrators telling parents to keep their children 
home during test week. 



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4. 



Teidra Yvetta Hutchims-Hoskins (Teacher) 



Teidra Yvetta Hutchings-Hoskins recalled teaching eighth grade students who could 
hardly read, but ended up scoring 100% on the math portion of the CRCT. Because of this type 
of inconsistency between student abilities and their test scores, Hoskins questioned what was 
occurring at Coan. 

5. Deborah Mills (Teacher) 

Deborah Mills taught sixth through eighth grade language arts, reading and social studies 
at Coan from 1994 until 2005. When Principal Williams arrived at Coan, Mills became 
uncomfortable with changes at the school. She and other teachers were amazed by the 
performance of some students on the CRCT, as their high scores did not seem to match their low 
performance in the classroom. Word spread around the school that administrators changed the 
students' answer documents. Principal Williams heavily emphasized making AYP and meeting 
targets. 

6. Quentin Soathall (Teacher) 

Quentin Southall reported that Principal Williams would place teachers on a PDP for low 
test scores. Southall was surprised by the test scores of some of the special education students in 
that their scores were much higher than their apparent abilities in the classroom. Southall heard 
that Principal Williams asked a teacher, Frances Warner, to stay after school one day to change 
students' CRCT answer sheets. 

7. De borah McRae CI cache r) 

Deborah McRae stated that while she worked at Coan, Principal Williams and Dr. 
Campbell asked her to promote students to the next grade who did not actually pass. She refused 
to do so. Principal Williams advised McRae that if she wanted to remain at Coan, she needed to 
be more compliant. McRae verbally reported her concerns to APS' Office of Internal Resolution 
(OjR), but instead of support, OIR told McRae to respect the authority of Principal Williams. 
McRae stated she also emailed Dr. Beverly Hall and Dr. Kathy Augustine, but never received a 
response. McRae advised that Principal Williams told Waller to contact several parents of her 
students and tell them to keep their child at home during CRCT testing. Williams told Waller to 
tell parents the reason their child had to stay home was due to behavioral issues. These students 
were lower performing and not likely pass to the CRCT. McRae stated that Waller complied 
with Williams' instruction and that ultimately some parents came to the school and complained. 

D, Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Dr. Andre Williams (Principal) 

Principal Williams previously worked in the New York school system where Dr. Beverly 
Hall recruited him to come to Atlanta. Williams became Principal at Coan in 2005, but was 
terminated in 2009. 



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Principal Williams denied cheating. He told investigators he had no motive to cheat 
because at the time of the 2009 CRCT, he had already accepted another job in another district. 
However, Williams stated that "cheating is so intertwined in Atlanta Public Schools." It is "such 
a part of what the culture is all about." Everyone knows that cheating is going on. Principals 
joke about cheating at their meetings. Everyone knows about the cheating at Parks. The APS 
Administration conducted "investigations" into cheating over the years, but nothing ever 
happened. 

In 2006, after his first year at APS, Principal Williams claimed that he filed an OIR 
complaint about the test scores at Coan because so many students passed when there was "no 
way in hell" they could have passed. Students might actually increase their scores by five points 
in a year, but not by 15 or 20. He stated that Colinda Howard from OIR came to Coan and 
investigated. She ultimately told Principal Williams that the students performed well due to his 
work. 

Principal Williams thought he cleaned up the cheating when he arrived at Coan, which 
explains why Coari's lest scores dropped. He heard about how the cheating occurred in 2009, 
Ron Washington wanted to be assistant principal and Williams heard that Washington changed 
the tests after testing was over. The majority of the erasures were in special education, and 
Washington, the special education administrator, had served as the testing coordinator for the 
first three days of CRCT testing in 2009. 

According to Williams, to be promoted, you must show growth in test scores. People 
accomplish this goal "by any means necessary" in order to get $100,000 per year jobs. APS is 
about movement and prestige. "If you cheat, you can move kids, you are going to get 
promoted," and everyone knows it. Principal Williams stated he could get a meeting with the 
President before he could see Dr. Hall. 

2. Dr. Wayne Campbell (Testing Coordinator) 

Dr. Campbell moved to Jamaica. We attempted to reach him by telephone, but he did not 
return our calls. 

3. Johnson Stuckey (Teacher) 

We attempted to reach Johnson Stuckey for an interview but received no response. 

4. Ron Washington (Special Education Administrator) 

Ron Washington denied any participation in, or knowledge of, cheating. During the first 
two days of the 2009 CRCT, Washington had sole access to the tests, but said he secured the 
tests each day. He acknowledged that it was easier to change tests if students were pulled for 
small group testing. During his second interview, Washington acknowledged that some students 
were taken to the cafeteria to take the re-test if they were a "big disruption." He states this only 
occurred a few times during the years he was at Coan. He denied instructing any teachers to 
contact parents and tell them not to bring the child to school. Washington said he was aware that 
Waller called parents, but that she either did so on her own, or another administrator directed her 



189 



to do so. Washington stated he questioned Alicia Waller about her actions, but did not recall 
what explanation she offered. 

E. Other Evidence 

• In 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, Coan met AYP. In 2010, Coan did not meet 
AYP. 

• Between 2009 and 2010 Coan saw a double digit increase (11%, 13% and 
23%) in the number of students across sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, 
respectively, that failed math on the CRCT. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Alicia Waller cheated on the CRCT. We conclude that Principal Andre 
Williams and Ron Washington knew of and allowed cheating at Coan. 

Based on the statistical evidence and the evidence we have found at schools with similar 
statistical data, we believe that other flagged teachers cheated. However, we lack sufficient 
evidence to determine which additional teachers cheated. 

We also conclude Ron Washington instructed a teacher to tell parents of certain low- 
performing children to keep their children home during testing or bring them to school late. 
These students were then tested in a small group. Although Washington denied he gave this 
instruction, he was aware that Waller had done this, but apparently took no action. He also 
admitted that "behavior problem" students would be pulled out and tested in a small group. 

We further conclude that Principal Andre Williams failed in his ultimate responsibility 
for testing activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for, the 
2009 CRCT. It is our conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this 
investigation that Principal Williams failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT and adequately 
supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and he is responsible for, 
falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



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EXHIBIT 



203 



DQBBS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



2025 Jonesboro Road Principal: Dana Evans SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 1 5 Testing Coordinator: Warren Edwards 



I. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Dobbs Elementary in 2009 and other years. Fifty-four 
people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Four teachers confessed to 
cheating. Cheating at Dobbs is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, confessions 
and witness testimony. Principal Dana Evans was one of the few APS employees to accept 
responsibility for cheating that occurred in her school, and she is to be commended. 
Nevertheless, she received multiple reports of cheating at Dobbs and therefore knew or should 
have known of the cheating occurring at this school. 

H. STATISTICAL DATA 





200D 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


33.3 


6.9 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


30 


6 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


14(11) 


4(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


7.3 


3.5 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


21.3 


4.2 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.2 


3.1 



DDL. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Narrative 

Since 2005, cheating on the CRCT has occurred at Dobbs Elementary. Under the 
administration of the previous principal, Carolyn Brown, CRCT materials were improperly 
returned to teachers after testing hours. Wanda Harmon brought the CRCT answer sheets and 
test booklets around on a cart, distributed them to teachers, and picked them up the next day. 
Thus teachers had possession of both the testing booklet and CRCT student answer sheets 
outside the testing period, and were able to erase and change students' answers. 

Principal Evans became principal in 2007, and cheating continued at Dobbs under her 
leadership, but not at her direction. She denied any knowledge of cheating, but accepts 
professional responsibility for all cheating that occurred at Dobbs during her tenure as principal. 
We commend her for accepting responsibility - she is one of the few in APS to do so. 

Principal Evans regularly employed volunteer proctors (generally parents) who had no 
training in test administration. At least one teacher witnessed a parent-proctor prompting 
students on the CRCT. 



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Multiple fifth grade teachers testified that their incoming students lacked the skills 
required to score as highly as they did on their fourth grade CRCT. Fourth grade teachers, 
Derrick Broadwater, Shayla Smith, and Angela Williamson prompted their students to change 
answers during the administration of the CRCT. Angela Williamson threatened students by 
telling them they would have to repeat the fourth grade if they ever told of the cheating. 

In addition to prompting, Derrick Broadwater and Shayla Smith possessed a photocopy 
of the CRCT. They used the photocopy to prepare students for the upcoming questions on the 
CRCT. Derrick Broadwater and Angela Williamson confessed to prompting students during the 
administration of the CRCT. 

Shayla Smith prompted Danielle Blair's students on the 2010 CRCT. Shayla Smith said 
to another teacher "I had to give them [her students! the answers, those kids were dumb as hell." 

Arlette Crump, a second grade teacher, prompted students on the 2009 CRCT. Dessa 
Curb, a special education teacher, prompted students on the CRCT. Two paraprofessionals 
assigned to Dessa Curb's classroom all testified that Curb not only prompted, but also erased and 
changed students' answer sheets. 

Sidnye Fells, who is no longer with APS, spoke to Principal Evans about her suspicions 
that the fourth grade team cheated, and about testing violations at Dobbs in general. Principal 
Evans changed the subject and took no action. Malcolm Brooks, who is no longer with APS, 
also spoke to Principal Evans about his suspicions of cheating by the fourth grade team. 
Principal Evans told Brooks that the fourth grade teachers simply had a rapport with their 
students and knew how to motivate them. 

Naomi Williams told Principal Evans about Curb's cheating, but Principal Evans took no 
action and instead fired Williams. 

Principal Evans instructed Tameka Grant to falsify CRCT records to indicate that 
students who failed to meet expectations in 2009 received remedial help when they received no 
such help. Tameka Grant met with GBI agents pursuant to this investigation, and informed them 
of Principal Evans' instruction. Tameka Grant said she was terminated by Principal Evans a few 
days later. 

Principal Evans informed teachers at a staff meeting that if she were placed on a PDP for 
low test scores, she would place every teacher on a PDP for low test scores as well. 

Teachers suspected cheating at Dobbs, but did not report it for fear of retaliation. SRT-2 
Executive Director Michael Pitts, speaking about this investigation, told the teachers, "If you 
know something you are incriminating yourselves." Michael Pitts also said that some teachers at 
other schools had attempted to retaliate against a principal and that these teachers told the GBI 
about "all this stuff that principal had done, "and guess what, that principal is still there." 



192 



B. Testimony of Witnesses 



1. Vera Yates (Teacher) 

Vera Yates proctored the 2009 CRCT in Angela Williamson's classroom. Yates saw 
Williamson prompt students to change incorrect answers during the administration of the test. 
Williamson walked around the classroom, stood over students' shoulders, and pointed to the 
correct answers. Williamson instructed Yates: "You didn't see that." Williamson gave answers 
to the children she knew would perform poorly on the CRCT. 

During the week of the 2009 CRCT, Yates saw Principal Evans and Assistant Principal 
Mario Watkins in Principal Evans' conference room after school with the CRCT materials. 
Principal Evans was seated at a table with a pencil in her hand and a stack of CRCT booklets in 
front of her. Mario Watkins stood beside Principal Evans. Yates made eye contact with 
Principal Evans, and quickly walked away. Yates never spoke with Principal Evans about the 
incident. Yates stated that her performance reviews steadily declined after she witnessed 
Principal Evans and Watkins in the conference room with a stack of CRCT booklets. Shortly 
thereafter, Yates' contract was non-renewed. Yates believes Principal Evans is retaliating 
against her because of what she witnessed. 

2. Diane Brewer (Substitute Teacher) 

Diane Brewer is a retired teacher that often substitute teaches at Dobbs. Brewer stated 
there are many allegations at Dobbs that the fourth grade teachers, Derrick Broadwater, Shayla 
Smith, and Angela Williamson cheat on the CRCT. Diane Brewer further stated that many fifth 
grade teachers expressed frustration to her because the incoming former fourth grade students 
could not perform at a fifth grade level. 

3. Tameka Grant (Teacher) 

Tameka Grant began working at Dobbs in October of 2009. Immediately upon her 
assignment to the fourth grade, she began receiving warnings and hearing that other teachers on 
the fourth grade team were known to cheat on the CRCT. 

Shayla Smith administered the 2010 CRCT to the students of Danielle Blair, a new 
teacher in 2009-2010. Tameka Grant testified that Danielle Blair's students were some of the 
lowest performers at Dobbs on the benchmark exams, but scored among the highest classrooms 
on the CRCT. 

Principal Evans instructed Tameka Grant to falsify records to indicate that students who 
failed to meet expectations on the 2009 CRCT received remedial instruction, even if the students 
did not receive such instruction. Tameka Grant further testified that Principal Evans told all 
teachers that if Principal Evans was placed on a PDP by Michael Pitts for low CRCT scores, then 
Principal Evans would place every teacher on a PDP as well. 

Tameka Grant was interviewed by the GBI on February 9, 201 1 . On February 11, 201 1, 
Principal Evans informed Tameka Grant that her contract would not be renewed with APS for 
the upcoming school year. 



193 



4. Arlette Crump (Teacher) 



Arlette Crump stated that "certain people at the school have a habit of cheating " She 
was referring to allegations that Shayla Smith, Derrick Broadwater, and Angela Williamson 
cheated on the CRCT\ Crump testified that two students told her that the fourth grade teachers 
cheated on the CRCT in 2009. Specifically, the students told Arlette Crump that Derrick 
Broadwater and Angela Williamson took them to the science lab before the CRCT and 
"prepped" them with a copy of the CRCT. The students told Arlette Crump that the photocopied 
test had the words "CRCT DO NOT COPY" printed on it. The students told Crump that Angela 
Williamson threatened the students that if they ever told, they would have to go back and repeat 
the fourth grade. 

The father of one student contacted Crump and relayed the story to her as well. Crump 
reported the cheating to Principal Evans. Principal Evans' response to Arlette Crump was that 
she did not know how that could have happened since there were monitors in the classroom. 
Principal Evans asked Crump if she knew of any other cheating. Crump told Principal Evans 
that she had heard Broadwater and Williamson gave students answers during testing and that 
Smith had taken the accelerated reading test herself in place of her students. 

Crump thinks that word must have gotten back to Broadwater because one of the students 
later told Crump that Broadwater told the students that the test was a coaching manual and not a 
copy of the CRCT. 

Crump admits to "bumping" students' desks when she noticed a wrong answer on the 
CRCT and instructing the student to "look at that again." She stated that Principal Evans 
"silently condones" cheating. 

5. Brook Hanson (Teacher) 

Brook Hanson stated that many of her incoming fifth grade students performed at a much 
lower level than their fourth grade CRCT scores indicated. Hanson stated that Principal Evans 
informed the teachers that if she were placed on a PDP by Michael Pitts for low CRCT scores, 
then Principal Evans would place all teachers on a PDP for low test scores as well. 

6. Francis Leach (Teacher) 

The same student who told Arlette Crump about cheating on the 2009 CRCT told Francis 
Leach that Angela Williamson cheated on the 2009 CRCT. Leach also heard claims at Dobbs 
that Shayla Smith, Derrick Broadwater, and Angela Williamson cheated on the CRCT. Vera 
Yates told Leach that Williamson prompted students with correct answers on the 2009 CRCT 
while Yates proctored in Williamson's classroom. Leach also stated that Dessa Curb's students 
always performed well on the CRCT, but most of them could not read, 

Leach feared that he would lose his job if he reported cheating. Leach stated that he 
called an Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter to report cheating within Dobbs. The reporter 
emailed Leach at his APS email address, causing Leach to fear APS would discover he reported 
cheating, so he never spoke to the reporter. Leach stated that, while attending a professional 
development workshop, an APS official, identified only as Dr. Washington, instructed teachers 



194 



that they "were not to blast APS" when interviewed, and that teachers were "only to answer the 
questions asked." 

7. Binla Moncur (Teacher) 

Binta Moncur testified that several teachers warned her about cheating in the fourth grade 
when she began at Dobbs in 2008. She also received warnings to stay away from Derrick 
Broadwater, Angela Williamson, and Shayla Smith. Malcolm Brooks, another teacher, 
explained to Moncur that Broadwater, Smith, and Williamson copied the CRCT and used it to 
cheat. Brooks also informed Moncur that the teacher she replaced refused to participate in the 
cheating scheme, and no longer teaches at Dobbs. 

During the week of CRCT testing in 2009, Broadwater and Smith approached Moncur 
and asked her how many of her students would exceed standards on the CRCT. Moncur was 
confused by the question, since it was impossible to tell midway through testing how many 
students would exceed standards. Smith had a sheet of paper and was poised to write down 
Moncur' s answer. 

8. Danielle Blair (Teacher) 

Shayla Smith administered the 2010 CRCT to Danielle Blair's students. Danielle Blair 
testified that one of her students told her and the entire class that Smith gave that student answers 
on the CRCT, Blair spoke to Smith, and Smith confirmed the student's story. Blair recounted a 
conversation she had with Schajuan Jones, a fifth grade teacher who taught Shayla Smith's 
former fourth grade students in 2010. Jones stated that Shayla Smith's former students could not 
perform at the level they performed for Shayla Smith on common assessments in Jones' 
classroom. 

9. Naomi Williams (Paraprofessional) 

Naomi Williams was a paraprofessional assigned to Dessa Curb's classroom. During the 
2009 CRCT window, but after the testing period, Williams witnessed Curb erasing and changing 
students' answer sheets. Curb kept the tests approximately two hours after the testing period 
ended. Williams gave the investigators photographs that depict Curb's CRCT test booklets and 
answer sheets spread out on a table in preparation for erasing. The photographs are included as 
Attachment A. Curb instructed Williams to take a particular student to the back of the 
classroom "and erase this mess and get with [the student] about the right answers." Williams 
witnessed Principal Evans in the classroom after the testing period when the CRCT booklets and 
answer sheets were still in the classroom. 

Williams reported Curb's actions to Principal Evans, but she "acted like she didn't want 
to hear it." Later that day, Principal Evans called Williams' home and told her son that Williams 
was not to report to Dobbs, and instead to report to the downtown office. Williams was 
terminated from APS. 



195 



10. Erica Goher (Parayrofessional) 



Erica Gober took the photographs included as Attachment A on her cellular telephone. 
Gober was assigned to Curb's classroom after Naomi Williams was disciplined at Dobbs in 
2009. Gober stated that because she heard that Curb cheated on the CRCT, she took the pictures 
so she would not later be accused of tampering with the CRCT materials. Gober stated that she 
took the pictures when Curb improperly left the classroom to take the students to their next class. 

Gober heard that fourth grade teachers and Curb cheated on the CRCT. She also heard 
that Williams tried to report cheating to Principal Evans and was terminated. 

1L Sidnye Fells (Teacher) 

Sidnye Fells was a fourth and fifth grade teacher at Dobbs from 2005 to 2008, when she 
resigned. Fells served under Principal Dana Evans, and her predecessor, Carolyn Brown. On 
February 18, 2010, after reading a news story about cheating in APS, Fells sent a letter detailing 
the cheating she witnessed at Dobbs to John Grant of the Professional Standards Commission. A 
copy of that letter is included as Attachment B. 

Fells was instructed by Carolyn Brown to mark every student present at Dobbs even if 
they were absent. Fells refused, and marked her students absent when they were absent. On at 
least one occasion, Fells' attendance records were altered. Fells took a picture of one of the 
altered attendance records, and a copy is included as Attachment C. 

Principal Evans often assigned volunteer proctors for the CRCT. The volunteers were 
not trained in any way, and Fells witnessed at least one volunteer proctor prompting students to 
change their answers on the CRCT. Under Principal Evans' administration, CRCT materials 
were not counted at the end of the testing period, allowing teachers to retain copies of the CRCT. 
Principal Evans did not make announcements over the intercom system telling the teachers when 
testing was over. As a consequence, teachers improperly kept their tests after the testing period, 
and allowed their students to work on the test longer than the allotted time. Fells voiced her 
concerns to Principal Evans, but no changes were made. 

Fells recalls a specific special education student who scored higher than any other student 
in the school on the reading section of the CRCT. Fells heard that the special education teachers 
read the CRCT to their students and used voice inflection to cheat. Fells stated that she no 
longer fears retaliation since she is no longer employed by APS, but that other teachers would be 
afraid to be truthful. 

12. Malcolm ft rooks (Teacher) 

The skills of fifth grade students entering Malcolm Brooks' class did not match their 
performance on the fourth grade CRCT. One student could barely read or perform basic 
computations and exceeded standards across the board on his fourth grade CRCT. Malcolm 
Brooks believes Derrick Broadwater, Shayla Smith, and Angela Williamson cheated on these 
students' fourth grade CRCT exams. Brooks met with Principal Evans to discuss his concerns. 
Principal Evans stated that the fourth grade teachers had a rapport with their students and were 
able to motivate them in ways Brooks could not. 



196 



Brooks left the APS system and now teaches in North Carolina. One reason he left APS 
was because APS was "selling these kids short," by "giving them a false sense of 
accomplishment." 

13. Anthony Greene (Teacher) 

Anthony Greene stated that incoming fifth grade students performed at a lower level than 
their fourth grade CRCT score would indicate. He testified that he and other fifth grade teachers 
believe the fourth grade teachers cheated on the CRCT in 2009 and other years. 

14. Mario Watkins (Assistant Principal) 

Assistant Principal Watkins stated that Principal Evans did not place teachers on PDPs 
for low test scores. He denied any knowledge of cheating on the 2009 CRCT or in any other 
year. When he viewed the wrong-to-right data, including the standard deviations for the teachers 
at Dobbs, he stated "it's on them," indicating that only the teachers were involved in any 
cheating atDobbs. 

15. Schajuan Jones (Teacher) 

Jones heard Shayla Smith yelling at a student because the student told people that Smith 
cheated on the CRCT. She also heard Smith tell another teacher, "I had to give them [her 
students] the answers, those kids are dumb as hell " 

Jones heard a student tell Principal Evans that Smith was cheating on the CRCT in 2010. 
That same week, Jones overheard two students discussing how Smith gave them answers on the 
CRCT. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Derrick Broadwater (Teacher) 

Derrick Broadwater admitted he prompted students to re-read particular questions he 
noticed they answered incorrectly on the 2009 CRCT and in other years. Broadwater testified he 
was forced to prompt students to change their answers on the CRCT because when the students 
came into his class from the third grade, their skills were far below the expected level. 
Broadwater stated that at the time he prompted students he did not believe it was wrong or a 
testing violation, but he has since realized it was wrong and a testing violation. 

Principal Evans told all teachers that if she was placed on a PDP by Michael Pitts for low 
CRCT scores, then every teacher would be placed on a PDP as well. 

Broadwater described a meeting between the teachers at Dobbs and Pitts during the 201 0- 
2011 school year. In that meeting, Michael Pitts told the teachers that with regard to being 
interviewed for this investigation, "If you know something you are incriminating yourselves." 
Pitts went on to say that some teachers at other schools had attempted to retaliate against a 
principal and that these teachers told the GBI about "all this stuff that principal had done, "and 
guess what, that principal is still there." Broadwater interpreted this to mean that if teachers 



197 



report cheating to us they are only hurting themselves, and that adverse action would not be 
taken against principals by APS. 

2. Shayla Smith (Teacher) 

Shayla Smith denied any knowledge of cheating, and denied participating in any 
cheating. Principal Evans told the Dobbs teachers that if she was placed on a PDP by Michael 
Pitts for low CRCT scores, then all teachers at Dobbs would be placed on PDPs as well. 

3. Angela Williamson (Teacher) 

Angela Williamson admitted to improperly prompting students during the administration 
of the 2008 and 2009 CRCT by telling the students to "go back over" a specific question when 
the student answered the question incorrectly. She denied prompting any students on the 2007 
CRCT or in any years prior. Angela Williamson stated that in 2009, her proctor, Tamara Franco 
also prompted students in this way. Williamson denied saying to any of her proctors "you didn't 
see that." Williamson testified that Principal Evans never instructed her or any other teacher to 
cheat. Williamson returned her CRCT tests in a particular order, and sometimes the next day the 
tests would be returned out of order. 

4. Warren Edwards (Testing Coordinator) 

Warren Edwards denies any knowledge of cheating on the CRCT. He stated that the only 
way to explain the high number of wrong-to-right erasures at Dobbs was that the teachers must 
have given students answers to the CRCT questions in the classroom. 

5. Dessa Curb (Svecial Education) 

Dessa Curb initially testified that she never left CRCT materials alone with a 
paraprofessional, as that is a testing violation. When confronted with the pictures taken by Erica 
Gober, she recanted her testimony, and stated that if she had left the room, she would have 
locked the CRCT materials in her closet Curb did not explain how the CRCT materials ended 
up on the table as depicted in the photographs. 

Curb admits she filled in answers to questions that students left blank on the CRCT. She 
further admitted that when students selected more than one answer on the CRCT, she would 
erase the wrong answer. When confronted with the testimony of witnesses who saw her erase 
and change answers and give students answers for the CRCT, Curb claimed she was "being set 
up." 

6. Dana Evans (Principal) 

Principal Evans stated that she never received a report of a testing violation or heard any 
concerns from teachers regarding cheating. She further stated that certain fifth grade teachers 
reported problems with their incoming students. Evans instructed the fifth grade teachers to 
provide her with the names of the students and the reasons they were not performing, but she 
believed the teachers' responses were vague. She thought the allegations the fifth grade teachers 
made were a defense mechanism to compensate for their scores not being as high as the fourth 



198 



grade teachers' scores. Principal Evans believes "people cheat because they have a flaw in their 
moral character ." 

Principal Evans testified that Dobbs was a problem school full of problem employees. 
She specifically identified Naomi Williams. When confronted with Williams' statements to 
investigators, Principal Evans stated that Ms. Williams had a vendetta against her because 
Principal Evans terminated her. Principal Evans denied ever being in a conference room with 
CRCT materials. She also denied ever seeing Dessa Curb's CRCT materials spread out on a 
table, Principal Evans stated that she has tried to instill discipline in the staff and faculty at 
Dobbs, with varying degrees of success. She believes that many teachers have or would attempt 
to retaliate against her discipline by fabricating stories about cheating. She denied ever cheating 
or condoning cheating. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Arlette Crump, Dessa Curb, Derrick Broadwater, Angela Williamson, 
and Shayla Smith cheated on the 2009 CRCT. 

We further conclude that Principal Evans knew, or should have known, that cheating on 
the CRCT occurred at Dobbs in 2009, and in other years. Multiple teachers testified that they 
brought concerns to Principal Evans regarding cheating, but Evans dismissed their concerns and 
took no action. Former employees testified that they informed Principal Evans of cheating and 
were terminated. Principal Evans testified that there were many bad teachers and 
paraprofessionals at Dobbs, and that she believed the ones she terminated fabricated stories in an 
attempt at retaliation. Principal Evans was one of the few APS employees to acknowledge that, 
as a leader, she was responsible for everything that happened in her school. She denies cheating, 
condoning cheating, or having any knowledge of cheating. We conclude that Principal Evans 
did not cheat or direct anyone to cheat, but conclude that she should have known cheating 
happened at Dobbs. 



199 




200 





February IS, 2Q10 



Georgia Professional Standards Commision 
Attn; Mr. John Grant 
Two Peachtree, suite 6000 
Atlanta, GA 30303-3141 



Dear Mr. John Grant: 

Thank you, again, for allowing me the time to voice my concerns and give testimony of 
cheating/unlawful behavior that I have witnessed at Dobbs Elementary School, I began my teaching 
career at Dobbs Elementary in the beginning of the 2003-04 school year as a 4* grade teacher. From 
then until the end of the 2007-08 school year, I was employed with Atlanta Public Schools as a teacher 
of 4 th and 5 th grades at Dobbs Elementary School. 

During my first year at Dobbs Elementary, and each year following, I was pressured to cheat on the 
CRCT. I wastold that we needed to "make the floor" by any means necessary, and that If our school did 
not make AYP and meet targets, wefteacherc) could be put on PDPs and possibly lose our jobs. Teachers 
were threatened and intimidated as a whole. From the beginning of the 2007-08 year, under the new 
leadership of Dana Evans, both intimidation of some teachers and favoritism of other's (based on test 
scores}began. Teachers who bad high scoring classes were given such special privileges as bonus supply 
money and the opportunities to attend conferences that I was not allowed to attend. In one instance, 
my supply request list was 'lost" even though it was submitted fn a pack with the lists of other 
coworkers who alt received their complete orders without issue. I had the lowest scoring dass on grade 
level 

From my first year, r saw and heard mention of several different cheating strategies. They are: 

* Once the seal is broken the first day of testing, you can look ahead to the next day's test, 
remember or write down as many questions as possible, and teach them to the students' that 
afternoon or the morning before the test. 

* The principal/administrator can ensure that certain teachers have no proctor while others do. 
This makes "rt easier for certain teachers to cheat. 

* Proctors with np orientation/training who were parent volunteers, rather than APS employees, 
were placed in certain classrooms, as well. 

* A test booklet can be taken home. The person can either study It, photocopy the questions, or 
simply copy the questions by hand. (The admrnstrator in charge of the booklet count will 
purposely overlook the inaccurate booklet count at the end of testing time that day.) 

* Some teachers may give students certain signals, each for a different letter - A,B,C, or D. 

* A teacher walking past a student may softly kick the desk Or chair of a student, alerting that 
student that he/she has marked the wrong answer. 

* A teacher /administrator reading the test aloud to a student may emphasize the correct answer 
with the volume of his/her voice. 




EXHIBIT 



201 



* A teacher may point to a question/answer and tell the student to "look it over" in order to alert 
that student that he/she ftas marked the wrong answer. 

* A teacber/adminstrator can ask that student mark their initial answers on a sheet of scrap 

pa per. Once that teacher/administrator approves the answers, the student can then copy them 
to the real answer sheet. 

* Administrators can return the booklets and answer sheets to the teachers when the state 
proctors have left the building. 

* Administrators can access the booklets and answer sheets and change the answers, since they 
have full access to all test materials during the week of testing. 

* Teachers/administrators can change answers AS students are taking the test, or simply verbally 
tell the student to change it 

© Administrators can change attendance figures in order to meet the attendance targets. 

* Administrators can tell tow-scoring students to stay home certain days of the test, or the entire 
week. 

* Administrators can instruct teachers to mark their entire dass present, whether it is true or not, 
In order to meet aUentance targets. 

During my tenure at Dobbs Elementary, I was told at times to mark all students present whetherthey 
were actually present or not. When I marked a student absent anyway, the "A* (for absent) was crossed 
off when my attendance sheet was returned. And, I saw many attendance figures changed in the data 
base. This happened during my last two years at Dobbs Elementary, from 2006-2008. 

During my earlier years at Dobbs Elementary, under the administration of Carolyn Brown, an 
administrator brought my students' test booklets and answer sheets back to me after the state proctors 
had left the building. When I asked why I was getting them back, I was told that I was supposed to check 
over the answer sheets for any stray marks and erase any that t saw. When I asked why I needed the 
test booklets as well, I was told that they wanted to keep everything together. I said 1 did not need 
them, and was told to "just look over them anyway", I never touched them. 

During my last year at Dobbs Elementary, under the administration of Dana Evans, the pressure to cheat 
escalated and 1 witnessed more unlawful testing practices. Teachers who spoke up against her policies 
and opinions were punished- We were constantly threatened with PDPs. Some of my coworkers had no 
proctor I was there when Evans was Informed of this. She appeared surprised, but made no effort to 
assign them one. The next day, there was still no proctor, (rt is my understanding that a proctor is not 
needed if the class count is below 30 students.] IvTy coworker and I were given one proctor to share 
between our classes. Ahout every 15 minutes, this proctor would come back and forth between our 
classes, talking to the students as they tested. She obviously had not been trained or had an orientation. 
I had never seen her working in the building before. And, 1 do not recall her name. There was some 
confusion about the break times. And, some teachers would take breaks during the test while others 
were still testing. Many teachers continued testing long after the signal was given for the test to end, 
Before testing, when I spoke with Mrs. Evans about the pressure to match scores that had been 
obtained by cheating, I was not taken seriously. To my knowledge, nothing was done by her to 
investigate or stop any possible cheating. 



Finally, here Is a list of former APS employees were worked at Dobbs Elementary. They are all willing to 
give their personal testimony of the cheating that has been allowed there for so many years, 




ISXHIlttT 



202 



TOOMER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



65 Rogers Street Principal: Dr. Tonya Saunders SRT-3 Executive Director: Dr. Gloria Patterson 

Atlanta, Georgia 30317 Testing Coordinator: Hezekiah Wardlow 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Toomer Elementary in 2009 and in other years. 
Fifteen people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Two teachers confessed to 
cheating. Cheating at Toomer is evidenced by confessions and witness testimony. Principal 
Tonya Saunders and Testing Coordinator Hezekiah Wardlow instructed teachers to cheat on the 
CRCT and the Fifth Grade Writing Test. Principal Tonya Saunders failed to properly monitor 
the 2009 CRCT. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 





2ooy 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


21.4 





Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


9 





Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


4(3) 





Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


6.6 





High Flagged Standard Deviation 


14.6 





Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.8 






III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Narrative 

Principal Saunders instructed teachers to prompt students to change their answers during 
the 2009 CRCT, and to look ahead in the CRCT booklet and make sure the students were 
prepared for the material to be tested. 

Hezekiah Wardlow instructed Latoya Stiff end to arrange her students in a way that would 
ensure that the lower achieving students received easier Fifth Grade Writing Test prompts. 

Teachers used voice inflection to prompt their students during the administration of the 
2009 CRCT. 

B, Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Lysandra Hardaway (Teacher) 

Lysandra Hardaway admitted to prompting students by inflecting her voice to emphasize 
the correct answer during the administration of the 2009 CRCT. 



204 



Hardaway testified that there were no proctors in the classrooms at Toomer, only 
monitors who would occasionally walk into individual classrooms. 

2. Sheila Brown (Teacher) 

Sheila Brown confessed to prompting students by inflecting her voice to emphasize the 
correct answer during the administration of the 2009 CRCT. She also admitted to prompting 
students to change incorrect answers during the administration of the 2009 CRCT. 

3. Megan Dosmann (Teacher) 

During the administration of the 2006 CRCT, Principal Saunders instructed Megan 
Dosmann to look ahead at the next section. Saunders said, "Your students better know 
everything on the math section," Dorsmann testified that she felt that Principal Saunders was 
encouraging her to cheat, or "feeling her out" to see if she would cheat. 

Dosmann heard that the CRCT was photocopied at Toomer, but she never saw a 
photocopy of any CRCT. 

Megan Dosmann saw Denita Carr prompting students during the administration of the 
CRCT. She was unsure of the year, but knew it to be between 2005 and 2009. 

4. Laioya Royal Stiffend (Teacher) 

Testing Coordinator Wardlow approached Latoya Stiffend during the Fifth Grade Writing 
Test and suggested she seat students in an order such that students would obtain writing topics 
that would improperly maximize students' scores. Stiffend denied that she seated her students in 
the order Testing Coordinator Wardlow suggested. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

/. Tonya Saunders (Principal) 

Principal Saunders testified that she was in the hospital undergoing emergency surgery 
during the administration of the 2009 CRCT. Testing Coordinator Wardlow was in charge of the 
school during the 2009 CRCT. She testified that the tests were kept in Wardlow' s office, and 
that she did not have a key to his office. 

Principal Saunders admitted to instructing her teachers to look ahead in the CRCT 
booklet and make sure that they taught the covered material before the next testing session. She 
admitted instructing her teachers to tell individual students to check their answers when the 
teacher noticed they had answered a particular question incorrectly. She later recanted and 
denied making both admissions. 

Principal Saunders placed teachers on PDPs for low test scores, and given this pressure 
she was not surprised that they cheated. She was surprised that some students passed the CRCT 
because their classroom performance did not match their CRCT scores. She stated that as long 
as teachers met targets and students passed, she did not question how CRCT scores occurred. 



205 



2. Hezekiah Wardlow (Testing Coordinator) 



Testing Coordinator Hezekiah Wardlow denied ever instructing Latoya Stiffend to seat 
her students in a particular order for the Fifth Grade Writing Test. Principal Saunders had a key 
to his office, A representative from SRT-3 was present with him during the CRCT testing 
window. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Principal Saunders instructed her teachers to cheat by prompting 
students to change answers on the 2009 CRCT. We also conclude that Principal Saunders 
instructed her teachers to cheat by looking ahead in the 2009 CRCT test booklet to improperly 
discover what material would be tested in those sections. Testing Coordinator Wardlow 
instructed Latoya Stiffend to seat her students in a way that would alter the results of the 2009 
Fifth Grade Writing Test. Sheila Brown and Lysandra Hardaway cheated by prompting their 
students to change answers on the 2009 CRCT. 

It is also our conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this 
investigation, that Principal Tonya Saunders failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and 
adequately supervise the testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is 
responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 
CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



206 



BENTEEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



200 Cassanova Slreet Principal: Dr. Diana Quisenbeiry SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts 

Atlanta, Georgia 3031 5 Testing Coordinator: Theresia Copeland 

L INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Benteen Elementary in 2009, Thirty-six people at this 
school were interviewed, some more than once. Cheating at Benteen is evidenced by a high 
number of flagged classrooms and witness testimony. The principal, testing coordinator, and 
math coach improperly viewed the CRCT early and "tutored" failing students by giving them the 
test questions and answers. The testing coordinator changed answers and Principal Diana 
Quisenberry knew that answers were changed. Principal Diana Quisenberry falsified attendance 
records and failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs, 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


43.1 





Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


22 





Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged ju Multiple Subjects) 


9(8) 





Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


12.5 





High Flagged Standard Deviation 


23.8 





Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 






B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


KIRK 


1 RD 


4.8161 14506 


KIRK 


1 LA 


7.10G03G004 


KIRK 


1 MA 


6.592589571 


EVANS 


3 RD 


1 7.9028224 8 


EVANS 


3 LA 


3.317K97736 


EVANS 


3 MA 


13.89030544 


RHODES 


3 RD 


15.96607601 


RHODES 


3 MA 


U. 2372800 X 


SMITH C 


3 RD 


20.56060439 


SMITH C 


3 I .A 


3.109935704 


SMITH C 


3 MA 


20-84487831 


BENTEEN 


4 RD 


4.88559548 


BONDS 


4 RD 


16.26859827 


BONDS 


A LA 


18.51439902 


BONDS 


4 MA 


14.68023 W2 


DIMES SMITH 


4 RD 


5.336297633 


DIMES SMITH 


4 LA 


3.55988236 


PAULK 


5 RD 


tM752N3tn 


PAULK 


5 LA 


8.336628077 


VACTER 


5 RiJ 


22.37132955 


VACTER 


5 LA 


23.81421432 


VACTER 


5 MA 


13.49026513 



207 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 



A, Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Benteen Elementary School 
was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 43,1% for the 2009 CRCT. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT 
only ten schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Benteen Elementary School. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
significantly from 43, 1% to 0%. 

Fourth, of the 22 flagged classrooms at Benteen Elementary School, 1 7 (77% of the total) 
had standard deviations that exceeded five, and 13 classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. 
At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. The deviations from the state mean were, for a 
number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at this school. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Benteen, 78.5% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
43.1% of the total classrooms in the school. 

Finally, Principal Quisenberry, Testing Coordinator Theresia Copeland, and Math Coach 
Dr. Marty Cummings improperly viewed the CRCT before it was administered and provided 
struggling students with the questions and answers so that they could pass the test. After the 
tests were administered in the afternoon and the SRT monitor left the building, Copeland took 
the tests out of the vault and to her office where she changed answers from wrong to right. 

B. Narrative 

Benteen teachers returned CRCT materials, counted them in front of either Patricia 
Whitehead or Dr. Marty Cummings, and put them in a plastic bin. Whitehead and Cummings 
took the bins to the vault, where they were "secured" by Copeland and the SRT monitor. The 
next morning, Whitehead and Cummings would get the tests from the vault and take them to the 
classrooms. Five teachers testified that they put the tests in a particular order, but when they got 
them back the next morning, the tests were out of order or altered. Cummings explains this by 
saying that he counted the tests again when he got them back to the vault. This might explain 
why the tests would be out of order except that Whitehead and Copeland testified that they were 
not counted again. 

Five people saw Copeland take the tests from the vault to her office in the afternoon. 
One person saw the tests in her office spread out on a table. Cummings, who helped administer 
the tests, testified there was no reason for the tests to come out of the vault in the afternoon. 



208 



Nine teachers did not believe the high CRCT scores reflected the actual abilities of their 
students. 

Principal Quisenberry, Copeland, and Cummings took students who had been identified 
as likely to fail the CRCT out of class for "tutorial sessions." Students who were tutored later 
told their teachers that they had seen all of the CRCT questions in these sessions. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Patricia Whitehead (Coach) 

Patricia Whitehead assisted Testing Coordinator Theresia Copeland with the 
administration of the CRCT in 2009. The classroom teachers collected the tests, counted them 
out in front of Whitehead (or Dr. Marty Cummings), and placed the tests in a clear plastic box. 
Whitehead watched the teachers count the tests and then wheeled the boxes on a cart to the 
"vault" where they were stored until the next morning. In the morning, Whitehead returned the 
boxes to the teachers who counted them again and administered the test. Whitehead never took 
the tests out of the boxes or counted them. Only the teachers counted the tests. According to 
Whitehead, there was no need to touch the tests between pickup and delivery. 

At approximately 3:30 p.m. during the week of the CRCT, Whitehead was in the 
cafeteria with Naj a Brittain, Lucrelia Craig, and Jamesa Rhodes. They saw Copeland pushing 
the tests on a cart down the hallway from the vault to her office. On another occasion that week, 
Whitehead saw Copeland lock the tests in the vault in the presence of Cecil Jackson, the APS 
monitor. Later that day, again around 3:30 p.m., Whitehead saw Copeland taking the tests 
toward her office. 

On another occasion, Whitehead went to Copeland' s office and saw the test booklets and 
answer sheets out on a table. 

Some teachers put their students' tests in a particular order at the end of testing each day. 
Two teachers, Sheila Evans and Lori Revere-Paulk, complained to Whitehead that their tests 
were out of order when they got them back in the morning. Whitehead could not explain why 
the tests would have been in a different order. 

Whitehead heard students who were tutored by Dr. Marty Cummings say that they had 
seen the test questions prior to the CRCT. 

2. Naj a Brittain (Monitor) 

Naja Brittain saw Copeland pushing the tests on a cart toward her office in the afternoon 
during the testing week. 

3. Lucrelia Craisz (Cafeteria) 

Lucrelia Craig also saw Copeland pushing the tests on a cart toward her office in the 
afternoon during the testing week. 



209 



4, Jamesa Rhodes (Teacher) 



A student told Jamesa Rhodes that she had already seen the questions on the CRCT. All 
of her students passed the CRCT, including one student who could not read the word "cat." 
According to the GOSA erasure analysis, that student had 14 WTR erasures out of 17 total 
erasures on the reading section of her 2009 CRCT. 

At 6:30 a.m., Rhodes saw Copeland come out of the main office with the tests on a cart. 

Principal Quisenberry made Rhodes change a student's report card grade from a D to a C. 

In the years before Principal Quisenberry became principal of Benteen, many students 
failed the reading portion of the CRCT. The reading scores went up dramatically in 2007-2008. 
In that year, only one student failed. 

5. Javacia Jones fParapro fessional) 

In 2009, Javacia Jones proctored Lori Revere-Paulk's fifth grade class. Revere-Paulk 
always put the tests in alphabetical order at the end of the testing day. She also always put the 
instructional booklet on top of the stack of tests. On two occasions the tests came back out of 
order and the instructional booklet was missing. Revere-Paulk complained to Copeland who said 
not to worry about it. 

Jones saw Theresia Copeland with the tests in her office in the morning. 

Principal Quisenberry kept a list of who had been interviewed by the GBI, and for how 

long. 

6. Nicole Taylor (Teacher) 

Nicole Taylor administered the CRCT to her first class in 2009. On the second testing 
day her students' test booklets had their names written on the inside. The names had not been 
there the day before. 

In 2009, at approximately 3 :00 p.m., she saw Copeland take the tests from the vault to her 
office. Taylor knew something was going on because she thought there was a disconnect 
between CRCT scores and actual abilities. 

Some Benteen students told Leslie Bonds that they had seen the CRCT questions before. 
Bonds covered her ears. 

7. Shcnvn Vac tor (Teacher) 

Shawn Vactor taught fifth grade in 2009. His students told him that the actual test 
questions were just like the questions in their tutoring sessions. Vactor asked them, "Did y'all 
have the answers," and a student replied, "I told you that." 



210 



Vactor put the tests each day in a certain order. When they were returned to him the next 
day they were out of order. Some pages of the test booklets were folded back and opened. 

8. Terrell Emerson (Teacher) 

Terrell Emerson started at Benteen in the fall of 2009. He heard teachers talk about how 
the administrators, Principal Quisenberry, Theresia Copeland, Dr. Marty Cummings, and 
Towanda Harris, altered tests. 

Emerson claimed Principal Quisenberry has been falsifying attendance records. One of 
his students was absent over one hundred days, but when Emerson got the attendance report back 
from the main office it showed only three or four absences. Emerson complained about the 
discrepancy to Principal Quisenberry who said there must have been a 'glitch' in the system. 
After he reported the attendance issues to Principal Quisenberry, she started sending observers to 
watch him teach. Shortly thereafter he was placed on a PDP. Emerson said that Principal 
Quisenberry took similar retaliatory actions against Ryan Abbott when Abbott reported that 
Sheila Evans gave her students the answers to the CRCT. 

9. Ryan Abbott (Teacher) 

Twelve students in Ryan Abbott's fourth grade class told him that their former teacher, 
third grade teacher Sheila Evans, gave them the answers to the CRCT. He called the APS 
hotline to report the cheating. 

10. Joann Banks (Front O ffice) 

A student told Joann Banks that her teacher, Toni Travis, gave her answers to the CRCT, 

11. Bethanie Barnes (Teacher) 

Bethanie Barnes turned in report cards with D and F grades. Principal Quisenberry and 
Theresia Copeland told her that grades below a C were against school policy. They sent the 
report cards back to Barnes and told her to change the students' grades. 

12. Leslie Bonds (Teacher) 

Students told Leslie Bonds they had seen the CRCT in their tutorial sessions. 

13. Alexis Dimes-Smith (Teacher) 

Alexis Dimes-Smith put the tests in a certain order when she turned them in at the end of 
each day. Two out of five days of testing, the tests were returned to her in a different order. 

14. Veronica Kirk (Teacher) 

Veronica Kirk administered the test to her first grade class in 2009. She put the tests in a 
certain order when she turned them in and every day they were out of order when she got them 
back. 



211 



Some results surprised her. For example, one of her students left an entire section blank 
yet passed the CRCT. 

Copeland told Kirk during the week of the tests that her students did well. She would 
have only known if she had been looking at the tests. 

15. The following people testified that there were one or more students in their 
class whose passing scores surprised them 

Patricia Whitehead (literacy coach) (she taught reading to students who could not read at 
their grade level); Sheila Evans (third grade teacher who had a number of students who had 
difficulty reading and passed the CRCT); Kimberlyn Gaston (paraprofessional who knows of 
fifth graders who cannot read yet met expectations on the CRCT); Towanda Harris (School 
Improvement Specialist who testified that students cannot pass their grade level assessment tests 
but passed the CRCT); Clinton Smith (third grade teacher who identified one student who 
surprised him that she passed the CRCT; this student had 10 WTR erasures out of 10 total 
erasures on the reading portion of the CRCT), Anne Elizabeth Martin (first grade teacher who 
identified one student she was surprised to learn passed the CRCT; this student had 17 WTR 
erasures out of 20 total erasures on the language arts section and 26 WTR erasures out of 32 total 
erasures on the reading section); and Javacia Jones (paraprofessional who knows of many 
children who cannot read and passed the CRCT). 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

J. Or. Diana Oifisenherrv {Principal) 

Principal Quisenberry denied cheating and claims she is not aware of anyone changing 
test answers. She denied changing attendance records or causing anyone else to alter them. She 
docs not have a school policy that children cannot make less than a C, and has never suggested 
that grades change from a D or F to a C. 

Principal Quisenberry saw teachers bring the tests to Copeland' s office to count and sort. 
On one occasion she knocked on Copeland' s door and Copeland said she could not come in 
because the tests were in there. Principal Quisenberry saw the tests stacked on a table through a 
window. Quisenberry said that this observation was prior to the administration of the test and 
that Copeland needed to sort the tests into boxes for the teachers. 

Principal Quisenberry thinks that this investigation is politically motivated and pointed 
out that the schools under investigation are predominantly African-American schools. 

2. Theresia Copeland- (Testing Coordinator) 

Theresia Copeland denied cheating on the CRCT. 

Copeland worked with Principal Quisenberry in two other schools and they are close 

friends. 

According to Copeland, the teachers counted the tests, not the test administrators. 



212 



5. 



Dr. Marty Cummings (Math Coach) 



Dr. Cummings assisted in the administration of the 2009 CRCT. He picked up the tests, 
counted them in front of teachers, and then re-counted them before putting them in the vault. 

He testified there would be no reason to take the tests out of the vault in the afternoon 
after they had been secured. 

4. Sheila Evans (Teacher) 

Sheila Evans denied giving her students any test answers in 2008. She heard that people 
were erasing answers at Benteen for years prior to 2009. She said that students identified as not 
likely to meet expectations were pulled out of class for tutorials in the weeks prior to the CRCT. 
They were tutored by Principal Quisenberry, Theresia Copeland, or Dr. Cummings. 

Principal Quisenberry tells teachers the lowest grade they may give students is a C. 
Evans no longer works for APS. We have learned that she has sued APS. 

E. Other Evidence 

A teacher at Benteen reported cheating in May of 2009. The allegations were that 
Copeland and Dr. Cummings pulled students from the classroom in the weeks before the CRCT 
and gave them the questions and answers directly from the CRCT book. The complaint also 
alleged that there were children who scored very high on the test even when they slept through 
the CRCT or did not know the answers to most of the questions. APS hired Penn Payne to 
investigate. Teachers at Benteen told Payne much of the same information they gave us. Payne 
concluded that because she obtained a large amount of "inconsistent, contradictory, and 
uncorroborated information," she was reluctant to reach conclusions about whether there was 
cheating. Instead, she recommended that the testing and achievement experts hired by APS 
examine Benteen in their analysis. 

On September 17, 2010, after we began our investigation, Payne amended her report on 
Benteen. She concluded that Sheila Evans cheated and that it was possible Copeland, Cummings 
and Principal Quisenberry cheated. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Testing Coordinator Theresia Copeland changed answers on the 2009 
CRCT. After the tests were administered in the afternoon, and the SRT monitor left the building, 
Copeland would take the tests out of the vault and to her office where she changed answers from 
wrong to right. This explains the tests being out of order each day, and why the students scored 
better on the CRCT than was reflected by their abilities in the classroom. We conclude that 
Principal Quisenberry knew Copeland was changing answers. 

We also conclude that Principal Diana Quisenberry, Theresia Copeland, and Dr. Marty 
Cummings viewed the CRCT early and "tutored" students by reviewing the actual test. 



213 



Principal Diana Quisenberry failed in her responsibility for testing activities and for 
ensuring the ethical administration of and proper security for the 2009 CRCT, It is our 
conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence that Dr. Quisenberry failed to properly 
monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately supervise testing activities and test security. This 
resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the 
results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 

Finally, we find that Principal Quisenberry ordered her teachers to improperly give all 
students a C or above and falsified attendance records. 



BEECHER HILLS I I .I .MKINTARY SCHOOL 



2257 Bollingbrook Drive Principal: Dr. Robin Hall SRT-3 Executive Director: Dr. Gloria Patterson 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 1 1 Testing Coordinator: Crystal Jones 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Beecher Hills Elementary in 2009 and in other years. 
Forty-two people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Three teachers 
confessed to cheating. Cheating at Beecher Hills is evidenced by a high number of flagged 
classrooms, confessions, and witness testimony. Principal Robin Hall failed to properly monitor 
the 2009 CRCT. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


201(1 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


42.6 


2.4 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


23 


1 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


10(7) 


1(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


8.1 


3.4 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


19.2 


3.4 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.0 


3.4 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


MEADOWS 


1 RD 


7.425756593 


MEADOWS 


1 LA 


9.18515921 H 


MEADOWS 


1 MA 


5.360238788 


DAVIS 


2 MA 


3.325295443 


FOWLER 


2 T?D 


6 925389177 


FOWLER 


2 T,A 


6.939522682 


FOWLER 


2 MA 


7.654532653 


LONG 


2 RD 


14.44128005 


LONG 


2 LA 


12 54966787 


LONG 


2 MA 


12.62085791 


LITTLE 


3 RD 


7.586797809 


LITTLE 


3 LA 


4.508882848 


LITTLE 


3 MA 


5.789043049 


ROSS 


3 RD 


3 300656702 


ROSS 


3 LA 


3.032519074 


ROSS 


3 MA 


8.870670614 


UPSHAW 


3RD 


U 9533X131 


UPSHAW 


3 LA 


8.873571835 


UPSHAW 


3 MA 


3.700818309 


AKINS 


4 MA 


3.684144795 


HUMPHRIES 


4 MA 


4.874674245 


VARNADO 


5 RD 


19.19833328 


VARNADO 


5 LA 


14.61152034 



215 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 



There are several facts which point to a conclusion that Beecher Hills Elementary School 
was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 42.6% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only 14 schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms 
dropped from 42.6% to 2. 1%. 

Third, of the 23 flagged classrooms at Beecher Hills, 15 (70% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and six classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a further indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Beecher Hills Elementary School. 

Fourth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures, 51% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 27.8% of the 
total classrooms in the school. 

Fifth, testing procedures were not clearly understood by the teachers. Teachers were 
allowed to read passages aloud to first and second grade students during the reading portion of 
the 2009 CRCT. Latenza Lawrence testified that she was instructed by Reading Coach Joye 
Bradley to read passages aloud to her second grade students. The practice ended after the 
erasure analysis was published, 

Sixth, testing security was poor at Beecher Hills. The CRCT materials were stored in the 
testing coordinator's office and people came in and out throughout the day during testing. 
Catherine Mack witnessed Brandon McClendon, a paraprofessional, in the science resource 
room with a stack of CRCT answer sheets and a pencil "taking care of stray marks." 

Finally, three teachers, Florence Bankston, Michelle Ross, and Dana Little, admitted to 
cheating during the 2009 CRCT. Michelle Ross purposefully seated her students such that the 
higher achieving students sat next to lower achieving students during the 2009 CRCT so that the 
lower achieving students could copy the work of the higher achieving students. She also allowed 
her students to use extra time to copy one another's answers. 

A. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Latenza Lawrence (Teacher) 

Latenza Lawrence testified that in 2006, Joye Bradley entered her room during the 
administration of the reading portion of the CRCT and instructed her to read the passages of the 
reading section aloud to her students. Lawrence believed that was improper. 



216 



2. Catherine Mack (Teacher) 

Catherine Mack believes cheating occurred at Beecher Hills on the 2009 CRCT, and in 
other years. She heard that teachers prompted their students during the administration of the 
CRCT. She testified that classroom doors were closed during the 2009 CRCT, and windows 
were covered. She believes that most teachers looked ahead to the next day's section of the 
CRCT test booklet. Teachers always met after each testing day to discuss what was going to be 
tested in the next session. 

She saw Paraprofessional Brandon McClendon in a room with a stack of CRCT answer 
sheets and a pencil in 2009. She asked him what he was doing, and he responded "taking care of 
stray marks." She recalled many of her students told her in 2009, and in years past that their 
former teachers gave them answers during the CRCT. 

During the reading portion of the CRCT at Beecher Hills, the first grade teachers were 
permitted to read the passages aloud to students. Once the news of the cheating investigation 
broke, however, the first grade teachers were no longer permitted to read the passages aloud. 

B, Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

/. Florence Bankston (Proctor) 

Florence Bankston administered the 2009 CRCT to PEC children in the media center, 
She admitted to prompting students to change answers on the 2009 CRCT. 

2. Michelle Ross (Teacher) 

Michelle Ross admitted to seating higher achieving students next to lower achieving 
students in 2009 and other years so that the students could cheat. Ross admits that she sat her 
students in that particular order specifically to allow her students to cheat. She also admits that 
once her students finished the CRCT she allowed them to use the extra time to copy each other's 
work. 

Ross also admits to prompting her students to change incorrect answers during the 
administration of the 2009 CRCT, and in other years. 

3. Dana Little (Teacher) 

Dana Little admits to prompting her students to re-read particular questions when she 
noticed a student answered a particular question incorrectly. She further testified that she was 
currently on a PDP for low test scores in 2010. 

4. Crystal Jones (Testing Coordinator) 

Crystal Jones became principal of Beecher Hills in 2009 after Principal Hall was 
promoted to SRT-3 Executive Director. Crystal Jones was the Testing Coordinator during the 
2009 CRCT at Beecher Hills. She testified that she knew of no testing irregularities or cheating. 



217 



Because she was a kindergarten teacher before becoming ILS and then principal, Crystal Jones 
has never administered the CRCT, 

Crystal Jones testified that she is currently on a PDP for low CRCT scores on the 2010 

CRCT. 

5. Robin Hall (Principal) 

Robin Hall denied any knowledge of cheating on the CRCT in 2009 or in any other year. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Florence Bankston, Michelle Ross, and Dana Little cheated on the 
CRCT in 2009 and in other years. 

Based on the statistical evidence and what we have found at schools with similar 
statistical data, we believe that other flagged teachers also cheated. We lack sufficient evidence 
to determine which additional teachers cheated. 

Tt is also our conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this 
investigation, that Principal Robin Hall failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and 
adequately supervise the testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is 
responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 
CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



218 



FAIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 

101 Hemphill School Road NW Principal: Dr. Marcus Stallworth SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams 

Atlanta, GA 30331-1621 Testing Coordinator: Pamela Ringer 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Fain Elementary in 2009 and in previous years. 
Twenty-nine people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Two teachers 
confessed to cheating. Teachers and administrators erased and changed answers on the CRCT. 
Cheating at Fain is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, confessions and witness 
testimony. Principal Marcus Stallworth directed teachers to cheat on the CRCT by telling them 
to use voice inflection, point to answers, prompt students to erase and change answers, re- word 
questions, or by any other means necessary. Testing Coordinator Pamela Ringer also 
encouraged teachers to cheat using these methods. 



IL STATISTICAL DATA 

A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


39.7 


18.8 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


31 


13 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


17(9) 


8(4) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


9.68 


4.1 


High Flagged Standard 


30.6 


5.5 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


3.02 



219 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teaclier 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


CARWrSE 


1 RD 


3.705585441 


GAR WISE 


1 I A 


6.088895616 


CAR WISE 


1 MA 


4 61062927.3 


MCALPIN 


1 RD 


7.805389288 


MCALPIN 


1 LA 


9.562743096 


MCAI ,PIN 


1 MA 


6.101663918 


HOLMES 


1 MA 


3. 5906'! 5 178 


LUCKIE 


1 LA 


4.85624005c 


LUCKIE 


1 MA 


4.078116832 


DICKEY 


1 LA 


5.64O94002I 


SALES 


2 I'D 


16.70813386 


SALES 


2 LA 


20. 81894726 


SALES 


2 MA 


22.778 42843 


SIMON 


2 MA 


4 231286213 


TIMMON 


2 I A 


3. i8ouy4yyi 


RICKS 


2 LA 


3 790038236 


WTTMER 


3 RD 


2 1 loibsUZi 


W1TMER 


3 LA 


25.68539899 


Wl 1 nll^K 


.) \\lt\ 


10 fiSl 7Q877 


STEVENS 


3RD 


9.732968355 


STEVENS 


3 LA 


16,28511265 


STEVENS 


3 MA 


14 61380638 


JOHNSON 


4 RD 


3 862024884 


JOHNSON 


4 MA 


4.577041882 


FRANCIS 


4 RD 


3,565992132 


HOWARD 


4 LA 


7.687164629 


BUTLER 


4 RD 


4.750123138 


BROWN 


5 RD 


4.819573861 


BROWN 


5 LA 


5.929359881 


FORDHAM 


5 RD 


7.120942 8 84 


FORDHAM 


5 LA 


6.609480502 



in. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Fain Elementary School was 
not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 39.7% for the 2009 CRCT. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only ten schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Fain Elementary School. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
significantly from 39.7% to 18.8%. 

Fourth, of the 31 flagged classrooms at Fain Elementary School, 18 (58% of the total) 
had standard deviations that exceeded five, and eight classrooms exceeded ten standard 
deviations. At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred 
without adult intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard 
deviations the probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations 



220 



from the state mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad 
scale at Fain Elementary School. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Fain, 72.4% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 39.7% 
of the total classrooms in the school. 

Last, multiple teachers confessed to cheating and testified that Principal Stallworth 
directed the cheating at this school. 

B. Narrative 

Witnesses at Fain testified that Principal Stallworth and Testing Coordinator Ringer 
instructed teachers to assist students on the CRCT by using voice inflection, pointing out 
answers, using non-verbal communication to indicate when a student marked a wrong answer, 
rewording questions, and any other means necessary. Many teachers followed Principal 
Stallworth and Ringer's directives and cheated on the test. 

In addition, Principal Stallworth and Ringer either participated in erasing and changing 
student answers or they failed to enforce proper testing protocols, giving teachers the opportunity 
to erase and change student answers. One teacher testified that she saw Stallworth and Ringer 
"looking over test documents" and that both were together at the school on weekends while the 
tests were in the school. 

Teachers cheated in many instances because of pressure from Stallworth to meet targets. 
Principal Stallworth constantly and routinely threatened teachers with job loss or negative 
evaluations if they failed to improve scores. Principal Stallworth embarrassed teachers that had 
low-performing students. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Geneva McCall fSST) 

Principal Stallworth pressured teachers to make sure students passed the CRCT. 
Stallworth used PDPs to keep teachers from transferring out of Fain. 

2. Tasha Marts (Teacher) 

APS administrators generally, and Principal Stallworth and Pamela Ringer specifically, 
put a great deal of pressure on teachers to meet targets. Stallworth told teachers during a faculty 
meeting that if their students' test scores were low on the CRCT, he would change the teachers' 
evaluations that had previously been completed. 

In 2009, Marks taught reading at Fain. No more than 30% of her students could have 
passed based on how they performed prior to the test. She felt the reading scores on the CRCT 
did not accurately reflect the students' actual academic performance. Marks made it clear that 
she would not cheat, and feels Stallworth retaliated against her because she would not go along 
with the cheating culture. 



221 



3. Melvina Holmes (Teacher) 



Principal Stallworth made it abundantly clear that teachers needed to do what they 
needed to do to make sure that the requisite number of students met or exceeded standards on the 
CRCT. He openly encouraged teachers to use voice inflection. Tie demonstrated how to prompt 
students using his eyes and eyeglasses. Melvina Holmes believes that Testing Coordinator 
Pamela Ringer was present during faculty meetings when Principal Stallworth gave these 
instructions. 

Cedric Carwise told Ms. Holmes how Principal Stallworth had demonstrated to him how 
to use voice inflection and then told him, "that's how you do it " 

It was important to the administrators that Fain "made the floor" at the Convocation. 
During teachers' pre-evaluation conferences, Principal Stallworth informed teachers that if they 
did not meet targets, he would add it to their evaluation and place them on a PDP. 

4. Darius Dowdell (Former Fain Teacher) 

Darius Dowdell taught at Fain from 1997 to 2008. Principal Stallworth pressured 
teachers and students to improve scores on the CRCT. Principal Stallworth singled out teachers 
in meetings and announced their CRCT scores. If the scores were low, Principal Stallworth 
ordered the teacher to crawl under the table in front of all the other faculty. He routinely made 
statements like: "It' s my school and I will run it how I want. If you don't like it, leave." 

Dowdell had no direct knowledge of cheating, but recalled that one year one of his 
students refused to take the test. That student still achieved a passing score on the CRCT. 

5. Marsha Howard-Hollidav (Teacher) 

Marsha Howard-Holliday taught at Fain from 2006 to 2010. One year during the CRCT, 
she saw Pamela Ringer and Principal Stallworth looking at the tests in a way that made her 
suspicious. Ringer and Principal Stallworth were at the school on weekends during the testing 
period and had access to the tests. 

Holliday suspects cheating at Fain. She became suspicious after Fain "made the floor" 
several years in a row. Some children at Fain could not function at the level the testing 
indicated, yet the school continued to make targets. In one particular year, one of Holliday 7 s 
students did not finish the math portion of the CRCT, but still achieved a passing score. 

It was extremely important to Principal Stallworth to "make the floor." Principal 
Stallworth told teachers they need to "do whatever it takes." 

Holliday denied erasing anything on her students' test, giving students answers, or using 
voice inflection to prompt students on the CRCT. 



222 



6. Yolanda McQueen (Teacher) 



Principal Stallworth told the teachers that they should "use whatever means necessary" to 
ensure students passed the CRCT. 

7. Douglas Rozier (Teucher) 

Douglas Rozier taught at Fain for fifteen years. When Stallworth was principal, Principal 
Stallworth told teachers during faculty or grade-level meetings to use voice inflection to assist 
the students on the CRCT. He instructed teachers to "make it work" and that when monitoring 
the room, teachers should direct students to the correct answers. Principal Stallworth also said 
teachers should give students additional time on the test. Principal Stallworth pressured teachers 
to follow his instructions by making statements such as: "This is my school and if you don't 
abide by my rules, I will ship you out." 

Testing Coordinator Pamela Ringer followed Principal Stallworth' s instructions to cheat. 
She encouraged voice inflection and advised teachers to put the test questions in the "simplest 
form" while administering the test. 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Sabrina Luckie (Teacher) 

Sabrina Luckie admitted to prompting students on the CRCT. Principal Stallworth 
instructed Sabrina Luckie and other teachers that while administering the CRCT, they needed to 
use voice inflection to assist the students. Luckie denied using voice inflection, but admitted that 
she would improperly give her students "the look" if she noticed they missed certain answers. 
She also pointed to a question if the student had it wrong so that the student would look at it 
again. Luckie attributed the high erasures in her class to these types of prompts. Luckie 
believed that other teachers similarly assisted their students. One former teacher at Fain, Ms. 
Moore, had a class that struggled academically but all her students exceeded on the CRCT. 

2. Cedric Carwise (Teacher) 

Cedric Carwise admitted to improperly rewording questions so his students could better 
understand them. Principal Stallworth drilled the teachers at Fain with APS targets, especially 
grades three through five. He told Carwise not to forget the "power of the voice." Stallworth 
then demonstrated to Carwise how to use voice inflection. Stallworth often told teachers that 
they needed to use "any means necessary" to ensure the students passed the CRCT. 

3. Marcus Stallworth (Principal) 

Marcus Stallworth served as Principal at Fain until December 2010. He denied cheating 
on the CRCT or encouraging teachers to cheat. He never suggested that teachers use voice 
inflection during a test and never told them to reword questions. Once, in a faculty meeting, he 
demonstrated the use of voice inflection on a test as an example of a tactic that teachers should 
not use. He claimed that some of the teachers may have misinterpreted that suggestion. 



223 



He denied telling teachers to "do what they needed to do" to make sure students pass the 
test. Rather, he said he told his teachers to "do what they needed to do to make sure students 
were ready to sit down and take the test." 

Stallworth confirmed that he told teachers that their evaluations could be changed based 
on their students' CRCT scores. APS administrators instructed principals to convey that 
message to their teachers. He never changed any teacher's evaluation as a result of test scores. 

In December 2010, APS terminated Stallworth claiming he screamed at teachers and 
demeaned them. He believes that his termination was in retaliation for statements he made in an 
interview in the spring of 2009 as part of an investigation into cheating. Stallworth explained 
that during that interview he said that some APS schools made huge jumps in test scores and that 
he understood why APS had come under suspicion. Stallworth suspects that some cheating was 
going on in APS due to large jumps in test scores in such a short period of time. 

In the fall of 2009, SRT-1 Executive Director Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams held a 
conference call with all the principals in SRT 1. She instructed her principals to collect 
everything they had regarding the CRCT, including e-mails, teacher materials, testing 
motivation, and training packets. Stallworth sent those items to her in a three-ring binder. It 
appeared that Davis-Williams was in a hurry to get the material. During that same 
teleconference, Dr. Davis- Williams told the SRT-1 principals they were not to use their email or 
the telephone to send out anything related to the CRCT. Stallworth commented to his ILS that, 
"if APS did nothing wrong, they were certainly making it appear as if they had." 

APS put pressure on principals to meet targets. During principals' meetings, and in the 
annual meeting with Dr. Hall, the administrators told principals that their evaluations were tied to 
targets. Dr. Hall would go around the room and almost force principals to say they would meet 
90% of their targets. 

The APS system is hostile from the top to the bottom. "If you are not a puppet, you get 
gone." The "puppeteering comes from the top." 

4. Pamela Ringer (Testing Coordinator) 

Pamela Ringer denied knowledge of, or participation in, cheating. She denied ever 
hearing Principal Stallworth tell teachers to use voice inflection or prompt students in any way 
on the CRCT. 

E. Other Evidence 

• Fain met AYP in the 2006-2007, 2007-2008, and 2008-2009 school years. 

• In 2009-2010, Fain did not meet AYP criteria for academic performance. 
IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Principal Stallworth and Testing Coordinator Pamela Ringer directed 
and facilitated cheating on the CRCT in 2009 and other years. Stallworth and Ringer deny any 



224 



knowledge of cheating, but numerous teachers testified that Stallworth and Ringer instructed 
them to assist students during the administration of the CRCT by using voice inflection, 
prompting, giving answers, allowing students additional time and changing answers to improve 
student scores. Many teachers admitted that they followed their leaders' directives to cheat due 
to intimidation, fear of job loss or negative evaluations. 

Sabrina Luckie and Cedric Carwise admit that they followed Principal Stallworth' s 
instructions to cheat. 

Although no one confessed to erasing and changing answers, the statistical improbability 
of even the lowest standard deviations at Fain, as well as a review of the student test data, points 
to adults erasing and changing answers. One witness observed Principal Stallworth and Testing 
Coordinator Ringer looking over the tests. This same witness stated that these administrators 
were frequently at the school together. 

Principal Marcus Stallworth failed in his ultimate responsibility for testing activities and 
for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for the 2009 CRCT. It is our 
conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this investigation that 
Principal Stallworth failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately supervise testing 
activities and test security. This resulted in, and he is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting 
or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



225 



SLATER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1320 Pryor Road Principal: Dr. Selena Dukes- Walton SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 15 Testing Coordinator: Vanessa Jackson 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Slater Elementary in 2009. Twenty-seven people 
were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Two teachers confessed to cheating. 
Cheating at Slater is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, confessions and witness 
testimony. Testing Coordinator Vanessa Jackson and Principal Selena Dukes-Walton knew 
about cheating. Principal Dukes-Walton failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


30.3 



5.2 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


30 


5 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


15(10) 


4(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


10 


3.4 


Iligh Flagged Standard Deviation 


31.8 


3.7 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3 


3 



226 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


^nT? pTTA X f 

GRLS11AM 


1 T A 

1 LA 


J. 30470 /U19 


LYNUM 


1 RD 


j.UiDoiyzlo 


LYNLIM 


1 MA 


3 (J /4Uss 14 / 


WALKER 


1 RD 


5-609065799 


iir a r J/" T7 

WALKJ'.K 


1 LA 


13. J IllbVi 1 




1 MA 


TO Vyl H/l T 1 


GRAHAM 


2 RD 


15. /0U5soUz 


(-TKAHAM 


1 T A 

z LA 


10, ymjzyy 1 


GRAHAM 


2 MA 


1 o.5yo(J4/ny 


\T/"M A XT 


2 RD 


■7 t 00 1 /" /in? 
/..joo 104/ /j 


"VT/~\T A XT 

INULA1N 


OTA 

Z LA 


J. 10J400DJ6 


NOLAN 




s mmfinne 
/ >oUUUo 


ST AK.RE 


2 MA 


/.uuzoyszoy 


I TXTT TXT A TtMITl? 

UN LIJN A_l\ Vv I 1 . 


2 LA 


U loZlooUb 


TTNTT TAT ATf 1VF 
UNUiN/lA VV L 


Z JYLA. 


ft. JO-J -7.5 I J /O 


\ T TCX^^T>T7 

AIJSMUK 1', 


3 LA 


.i _>j 1 U4.1 I vh 


ATTO?i/f 

A. U a IV1 UK..I1 


J JV1./V 




POT F.tvf AN 


3 RD 


5.038191689 


TAYLOR 


3 RD 


15.16808995 


TAYLOR. 


3 LA 


6.073024418 


TAYLOR 


3 MA 


4.317325691 


WINSTON 


3RD 


20.02061696 


WINSTON 


3 LA 


3 114788407 


BLACKMON 


4 RD 


4.354670541 


BTACKMON 


41 A 


4.321901605 


GRANT 


4 RD 


11,86774071 


GRANT 


4 LA 


18.72779953 


GRANT 


4 MA 


23.89018266 


HICKS 


4RD 


31 79652758 


JONES 


5 RD 


3.564907392 



HI. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Narrative 

Teachers Ellen Grant and Nettie Walker gave students the answers during the 2009 
CRCT. Grant allowed her students to go home and look up answers and then change the 
previous day's answers. She also erased and changed answers on her students' tests. Nettie 
Walker gave students the answers during the test and changed answers in the media center while 
"erasing stray marks." 

Testing Coordinator Vanessa Jackson saw Ellen Grant changing answers and did not tell 
her to stop. Principal Dukes- Walton created an environment that pressured teachers to cheat, and 
she knew they were cheating. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Katrina Coleman (Teacher) 

Katrina Coleman heard that Principal Dukes-Walton asked Math Coach Shenita Monroe 
to cheat on the 2009 CRCT. Coleman also heard that Gwendolyn Taylor's husband saw 
Principal Dukes-Walton's car at Slater on the weekend between the first and second week of the 
CRCT when the tests were located at the school. 



227 



Principal Dukes-Walton was focused on CRCT results. At a faculty meeting she used a 
power point presentation to list every teacher and their students' test scores. Coleman felt this 
was done to embarrass teachers with lower test scores. Each year, Principal Dukes-Walton 
prepared a document that informed the teachers how many students needed to meet or exceed 
expectations on the CRCT. They would go over this information in January, and a copy of the 
memorandum would be placed in the testing materials in April. A copy of the Memorandum 
included as Attachment A. 

Coleman's students tried to tell her that teachers gave them the answers in previous years 
but Coleman would not let them explain because she did not want to have to report cheating. 
She feared retaliation if she reported the students' allegations. 

Coleman heard that Principal Dukes- Walton asked each teacher at Slater whether they 
had been subpoenaed for this investigation. Administrators constantly reminded teachers they 
should keep quiet and not cooperate with the investigation. 

Coleman said she believes APS is like an "organized crime family" because APS has a 
way of making things disappear. For example, Coleman filed a grievance while at Slater and 
submitted it to SRT-2 Executive Director Michael Pitts. The grievance was about stolen money 
that Principal Dukes- Walton knew about but did not address. Coleman has never heard anything 
from APS about her grievance. 

2. Schajuan Jones (Teacher) 

At the end of the testing week teachers from each grade level were called to the media 
center to erase stray marks. Schajuan Jones saw Ellen Grant erasing an entire section on an 
answer sheet. Jones told Grant to stop cheating and then approached Testing Coordinator 
Vanessa Jackson to report this misconduct. Jackson did not take any action until Jones 
complained a second time, when Jackson finally told Grant to stop erasing answers. According 
to Jones, the other teachers in the room were laughing during this exchange. An SRT-2 
representative, Maxine Coleman, was present for this incident, as were most of the fourth and 
fifth grade teachers. Jones specifically remembers that Janice Hicks and Jermaine Ausmore were 
present. Jones indicated that this "erasing of stray marks" as a group occurred all three years she 
taught at Slater. 

During the 2009 CRCT, Jones saw Shenita Monroe walking from the direction of the 
school's main office making comments about not doing something. Jones asked Monroe what 
she was talking about. Monroe said she was talking about changing answers on the CRCT. 
Monroe also mentioned Principal Dukes- Walton's name, but did not specifically say that the 
principal asked her to change answers. However, Jones believes that Principal Dukes- Walton 
asked Monroe to change answers on the CRCT. 

3. Shenita Monroe (Teacher) 

Shenita Monroe denied the incident reported by Schajuan Jones. Monroe says that 
Principal Dukes-Walton never asked her to cheat. However, Dukes-Walton did put Monroe on a 
PDP for low test scores. The PDP did not explicitly state that low test scores were the reason for 
the PDP, but Dukes-Walton told Monroe that was the reason for the PDP. 



228 



4. Ellen Grant (Teacher) 



Ellen Grant admitted to cheating on the 2009 CRCT. She encouraged students to go 
home and look up the answers to the CRCT questions. The next day she allowed the students to 
go back to previous sections and change their answers. Grant also changed answers herself 
while her proctor took the students to the restroom. She changed answers for the "middle 
performers." 

Grant denied changing answers in the media center with other teachers. She claimed she 
could not have changed answers then because she did not have the test booklets. Grant 
emphasized several times she was alone when she cheated and that she did not erase answers in 
front of anyone and that no one directed her to cheat. 

5. Nettie Walker (Teacher) 

Nettie Walker admitted to cheating on the CRCT. She gave her students the answers to 
CRCT questions in 2009 and in previous years. Walker walked around the classroom during the 
test and when she noticed that a majority of the class was getting a particular question wrong, she 
would give the whole class the answer. Walker thinks that she provided five to seven answers 
per section. She also admitted to changing one answer in 2009. One student had a "meltdown" 
during the test and while Walker was erasing stray marks in the media center she reviewed that 
student's test. She saw one answer that she believed the student knew but had wrong, and she 
changed the student's answer. When the teachers erased stray marks in the media center, they 
had both the test booklets and the answer sheets available. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

/. Dr. Selena Dukes-Walton (Principal) 

Principal Dukes- Walton denied cheating or having knowledge of cheating. In her 
interviews, she pointed out that Slater did not make AYP in 2009. She was unable to offer an 
explanation for why the wrong-to-right erasures at her school were so high. 

Principal Dukes-Walton observed the erasing of stray marks in the media center. She 
claimed that test booklets were not available while the teachers erased stray marks, 

She denied asking any teacher whether the investigators subpoenaed them. She claimed 
that teachers told her when they had to be out of the school to meet with investigators because 
she had to arrange for someone to watch their class. 

2. Vanessa Jackson (Testing Coordinator) 

Vanessa Jackson called all of the teachers to the media center by grade level to erase 
stray marks. The teachers would check the tests of their own students and make sure the tests 
were clear of stray marks. No one erased answers and no one ever told her that anyone was 
erasing answers. 



229 



3. 



Wanda Harmon (Assistant Principal) 



Wanda Harmon denied cheating or having knowledge of cheating, 

4. Maxim Coleman (SRT-2 Proctor) 

Maxine Coleman was assigned to Slater to observe the 2009 CRCT administration. 
Coleman denied seeing anyone erase answers. 



Akisha Graham was not implicated by anyone but the wrong-to-right erasure analysis 
flagged three of her classes with standard deviations of 16, 17, and 17. When interviewed by a 
GBT agent, she smirked and said that the interview was a waste of her time. 



Schajuan Jones testified that Hicks witnessed Jones complain about Grant changing 
answers in the media center. Hicks denied cheating; however, Hicks had the highest number of 
wrong-to-right erasures in the school. She was flagged in the reading subject area with a 
standard deviation of 3 1.9. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

There was cheating on the 2009 CRCT at Slater Elementary. Our conclusion is based on 
the following evidence: (1) Principal Dukes-Walton put pressure on teachers to raise CRCT 
scores; (2) teachers erased "stray marks" in the media center and Nettie Walker and Ellen Grant 
changed answers while "erasing stray marks"; (3) Ellen Grant let her students look up the 
answers and change tests themselves; and (4) Schajuan Jones reported Grant for changing 
answers and no action was taken. This evidence leads us to conclude that many teachers at 
Slater altered test documents. 

Teachers changed answers in the media center while they claimed to be erasing stray 
marks. Ellen Grant admitted that she changed answers in her classroom. We believe Grant 
changed answers in the media center in the presence of Maxine Coleman, Vanessa Jackson, 
Janice Hicks, and Jermaine Ausmore. We conclude that Janice Hicks erased students' answers, 
too, due to the statistical improbability of 31.8 standard deviations from the state norm, 
combined with the testimony of Schajuan Jones. 

Testing Coordinator Vanessa Jackson knew the teachers were changing answers. The 
cheating occurred in the media center, when only four to six people were present. With such a 
small group in the media center at a time, Jackson would have noticed someone erasing answers. 

We conclude that Principal Dukes-Walton knew or should have known there was 
cheating at this school. She created an environment in which teachers felt pressured by ridicule 
to ensure that their students' scores improved. She also put memorandums in each teachers' 
testing materials to inform them of how many students must meet or exceed expectations. As 



5. 



Akisha Graham (Teacher) 



6. 



Janice Hicks (Teacher) 



230 



one teacher stated, teachers could not ensure how students did on the test once the test started, 
unless they cheated. 

It is our conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence obtained in this 
investigation as to system wide cheating on the 2009 CRCT, that Principal Dukes-Walton failed 
to adequately supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is 





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232 



THOMAS VILLE HEIGHTS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1820 Henry Thomas Dr. SE Principal: Janice Kelsey SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts 

All ante, Georgia 3 03 1 5 Testing Coordinator: Tracey Fisher 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Thomasville Heights Elementary in 2008 and 2009. 
Thirty-two people were interviewed at this school, some more than once, Two teachers 
confessed to cheating. Cheating at Thomasville Heights is evidenced by a high number of 
flagged classrooms, confessions and witness testimony. Principal Janice Kelsey failed to 
pi uperly monitor the 2009 CRCT 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 







2010 




m 


7.2 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 




5 


Number of Teachers Flogged for WTR Standard Deviations above 


15(11) 


3(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from Stale Norm 


7.1 


6.3 


High Ragged Standard IDeviation 


14.6 


9.6 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.L 


3.2 



233 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


BKAUFORT 


1 RD 


6.592096573 


BEAUFORT 


1 LA 


12.56542713 


BEAUFORT 


1 MA 


7 89313784R 


COHEN 


1 RD 


6.294592751 


COHEN 


1 LA 


5.940398975 


COHEN 


IMA 


5.116794989 


MCKEITHEN 


IMA 


4.886755241 


NICKOLICH 


IMA 


3.285995043 


OLIVER 


1 LA 


4.546905732 


DALIDK 


2 RD 


5.285191345 


DALIDE 


2 J. A 


5.396477417 


DALIDE 


2 MA 


4 29678822 


SWAIN P 


2 RD 


8.79181171 


SWAIN P 


2 LA 


10.23762982 


SWAIN P 


2 MA 


6.088495889 


WALLER 


2 RD 


5.856558037 


WALLER 


2 LA 


7.920618241 


WALLER 


2 MA 


9.078163504 


HUBBARD 


3 RD 


9.676394581 


HUBBARD 


3 LA 


6.743629425 


HUBBARD 


3 MA 


4.751842097 


BROWN 


4 RD 


3.111356934 


SAVAGE 


4 RD 


10.38147811 


SAVAGE 


4 MA 


10.73819265 


BIDULESCU 


5 RD 


12.79621953 


BIDULESCU 


5 LA 


14.64533258 


BIDULESCU 


5 MA 


3.152159194 


DAY 


5 RD 


4.320453585 


DAY 


5 MA 


5.589028002 


FORRER 


5 RD 


8.890145458 


FORRER 


5 LA 


6.260625917 


FORRER 


5 MA 


11.36464914 


THOMASVILLE 


5 LA 


3.7073391S7 


THOMAS VILLE 


5 NLA. 


5,589336097 



in. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Thomasville Heights 
Elementary School was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately 
reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 39.1% for the 2009 CRCT. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only 15 schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Thomasville Heights. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
significantly from 39.1% to 7.2%. 

Fourth, of the 34 flagged classrooms at Thomasville Heights, 25 (74% of the total) had 
standard deviations that exceeded five, and seven classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. 
At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 



234 



intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Thomasville Heights. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to -right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures, 68% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 39.1% of the 
total classrooms in the school, 

Last, two teachers admitted to cheating. Two first grade teachers confessed to prompting 
their students in the classroom. One teacher walked around while testing and if several students 
missed a question, she might rephrase the question and prompt students to remember what they 
were taught in class. Another teacher admitted to reading the questions aloud more than twice 
and pointing to questions she noticed students got wrong and telling them to re-read it. These 
teachers believe that their actions caused their students to erase and change answers from wrong 
to right. 

B. Narrative 

Teachers who cheated, and others interviewed, cited the intense pressure they felt to 
increase test scores and make targets, Principal Janice Kelsey had been on several PDPs and felt 
pressure from her SRT Executive Director. Teachers were threatened with PDPs and job loss. 
Principal Kelsey and Testing Coordinator Tracey Fisher allowed teachers to pick up tests as early 
as 7:30 a.m. and keep them late. Stray marks could be erased by teachers in their classrooms or 
in the conference room. No one seemed clear on the proper policy. 

APS was alerted to cheating on the 2009 CRCT based on events in 2008. Between March 
and May 2008, APS's Office of Internal Resolution received allegations of cheating and 
workplace improprieties involving Principal Janice Kelsey. The cheating allegations stemmed 
from an anonymous phone call in April 2008 to the Georgia Department of Education (DOE). 
The caller alleged that Principal Kelsey was putting extreme pressure on teachers to meet targets 
and threatening to place teachers not meeting targets on a PDP. The caller also alleged that 
Principal Kelsey told teachers that "hints" should be provided to students during CRCT testing. 
The cheating allegations were investigated by an external investigator, Stan Williams, who 
conducted interviews of staff at Thomasville Heights and submitted reports of his findings to 
OIRinMay 2008. 

The 2008 external investigation looked into other allegations of testing-related 
improprieties that had occurred at Thomasville Heights. One allegation was that Principal 
Kelsey went into teacher Emily Cohen's first grade classroom during testing and administered 
part of the test. Cohen was having difficulty controlling the students' behavior during the test. 
On the second day Principal Kelsey selected certain students from Cohen's class, and some from 
other classes, and tested them separately in Cohen's classroom. Principal Kelsey took over the 
reading of different test subjects, at times reading too quickly, or re-reading the questions more 
than two times. Cohen stated that Principal Kelsey also leaned over students and pointed to the 
test book, but was not sure she was pointing at answers. 



235 



There was a missing answer sheet on the second day of CRCT testing in 2008. Fourth 
grade teacher Giselle Brown had turned in 19 answer sheets on Friday, but on the next Monday, 
she received back only 18 answer sheets. Additionally, her tests booklets were in a different 
order from when she turned them in. The missing answer sheet was reported to Principal Kelsey, 
and Testing Coordinator Tracey Fisher. After an extensive search, the answer sheet could not be 
found and the matter was reported to Cari Ryan in APS Research, Planning and Accountability. 
Days later, the missing answer sheet was found by Giselle Brown under a bookcase in her 
classroom. She was unable to explain how that had occurred. 

Principal Kelsey' s car was seen at the school on Saturday of the weekend the answer 
sheet was missing in 2008. At least one witness mentioned that other teachers' cars had been 
seen that day along with Principal Kelsey's, including Raine Hackler, Stacey Brundage, and 
Makisha Boddie. Some witnesses questioned had difficulty recalling whether the sighting of 
Principal Kelsey's car happened during the 2008 or 2009 CRCT. The OIR report indicates that 
the alleged sighting was reported in 2008, 

Williams' report found that all allegations of cheating and testing improprieties by 
Principal Kelsey "had no merit." In a separate report, Williams found "no evidence" that Kelsey 
threatened teachers to meet targets or be placed on PDPs, or that she instructed teachers to give 
hints or answers during CRCT testing. In a June 23, 2008 letter, Superintendent Beverly Hall 
informed Principal Kelsey that the investigations were complete and the allegations found to be 
unsubstantiated. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Jennitra Oliver (Teacher) 

Jennitra Oliver admitted that during testing she walked around and if several students 
missed a question she rephrased the question and told the students to remember what was taught 
in class. Oliver believes that accounted for the erasures in her class. She denied giving children 
the answers and denied erasing answers. She erased stray marks in her classroom and may have 
erased them in the conference room. Testing Coordinator Tracey Fisher was present in the 
conference room when stray marks were erased. Oliver could not recall if other teachers erased 
in the conference room. No one instructed her to erase stray marks in her classroom or the 
conference room. She erased the marks because she knew they were picked up by the scoring 
machine. 

2. Theresa Nickolich (Teacher) 

Theresa Nickolich admitted to prompting her students during testing by pointing to 
questions that she noticed were incorrect and telling the student to re-read the question. She read 
the question more than twice but denied telling students the answer. Nickolich recalled that 
teachers were instructed by Testing Coordinator Tracey Fisher to erase stray marks after testing 
each day. She cleaned the stray marks in her classroom, and could not recall whether teachers 
cleaned stray marks together in the conference room. She denies changing any answers. 

Nickolich stated that there was pressure to raise scores from Principal Kelsey, who was 
being pressured herself. Everything in APS was driven by the test scores. 



236 



3. 



Giselle Brown (Teacher) 



Giselle Brown was a fourth grade teacher in 2009. She recalls the incident of the missing 
answer sheet that was investigated in 2008. She said that the Friday after testing began she took 
her test booklets and answer sheets to the conference room as usual. She and the testing 
coordinator, Tracey Fisher, each counted 19 booklets and 19 answer sheets. Monday morning 
Brown went to the conference room to pick up her tests for the last day of test administration. 
There were 19 test booklets but only 18 answer sheets. Brown and Fisher searched everywhere 
but could not find it. Brown also noticed that her test booklets were out of order. She knew that 
when she turned them in on Friday they were in alphabetical order. Brown found the missing 
answer sheet days later under a bookcase. She felt that it had to have been placed there long 
after the answer sheet was noted as missing because it could not have fallen in that spot. Brown 
believed that someone went through her students answer sheets and changed answers from 
wrong to right. 

Brown stated that there is tremendous pressure on teachers to meet targets. It was "all 
about the numbers." Principal Kelsey was no longer at the school but Brown said the current 
principal was also focused on the numbers and ruled with a "heavy hand." She believed, and it 
was obvious to her, there was cheating at Thomasville Heights. She had several fourth grade 
students who could barely read simple sentences and yet did well on the CRCT. 



Makisha Boddie was the literacy coach in 2008 and left Thomasville Heights after the 
2007-2008 school year, During the 2008 CRCT, Boddie was a hall monitor. Teachers were able 
to pick up their tests as early as they wanted. The testing coordinator, Tracey Fisher, would sign 
them out. Boddie recalled the incident of the answer sheet that went missing over the weekend 
of the 2008 testing. It was eventually found under a bookcase in Giselle Brown's classroom and 
Boddie recalled that there was something peculiar about how it was found. Boddie discussed the 
matter with Principal Kelsey, who admitted that she was at the school over the weekend that the 
answer sheet went missing. Principal Kelsey stated that she went to school to clean her office. 

The administrators placed a lot of pressure on teachers to score high on the CRCT. 
Teachers were threatened with PDPs if their test scores were low. She heard Principal Kelsey 
say "if I am going to be placed on a PDP for low test scores, then so will you." SRT-2 Executive 
Director Michael Pitts told teachers that they would be fired if targets were not met Boddie was 
surprised that some students passed the CRCT. As the literacy coach, she knew certain students 
whose ability did not match their high test scores. 



Christopher Forrer was a fifth grade teacher in 2009 and was flagged in all subjects for 
high wrong-to-right erasures. He was not surprised by the number of answers changed in his 
class and thought there was cheating at the school. Teachers were under so much pressure that 
they likely changed answers themselves. Forrer thought that administrators changed answers as 
well. He cited numerous testing violations and irregularities. For example, during the 2009 
CRCT, his students told him on the third day of testing that their answers had been erased and 



4. 



Makisha Boddie (Literacy Coach) 



5. 



Christopher Forrer (Teacher) 



237 



corrections made. Forrer looked at the answer sheets and noticed numerous answers had been 
changed. He thinks there was "funny business" going on with the tests and that someone 
changed answers from wrong to right. Teachers could pick up their tests as early as they wanted. 
Teachers could be alone with the test materials for as long as an hour before testing started, and 
could bring the tests back late "with no questions asked." The lack of protocols was 
"deliberate" 

6. Deborah Clements (Teacher) 

During the 2009 CRCT, one of her students raised her hand after testing had begun and 
informed Deborah Clements that two or three pages of her test book had the answers already 
marked in it. Clements reported it to Testing Coordinator Tracey Fisher. The student was given 
a new test book, and a few days later the incident was written up and also reported to APS by 
Clements and Fisher via speakerphone from Fisher's office. (Fisher denied this incident ever 
occurred, or if it had, it was not during the CRCT.) Clements was interviewed again, at which 
time she confirmed that it was the CRCT. 

Clements suspects someone changed answers on the CRCT. She had students from lower 
grades who scored well on the CRCT, but lacked basic skills and could not read. 

Clements was reassigned to teach second grade. She believes this was a demotion for 
low test scores. There was tremendous pressure exerted to ensure students performed well on the 
CRCT. Principal Kelsey would come back from SRT meetings and "rake the teachers over the 
coals" for low test scores. Test scores were tied to evaluations. 

D. Testimony of Additional Witnesses 

/. Stacey Bmndage ( Teacher) 

Stacey Brundage left Thomasville Heights in 2008 and was not present for the 2009 
CRCT testing. She denies being at the school on the Saturday of 2009 CRCT testing as some 
had reported. She thinks Lisa Hubbard may have cheated because her scores were always higher 
than average. 

2. Ashley Beau fort (Teacher) 

Ashley Beaufort said that Principal Kelsey entered her class during 2009 CRCT testing, 
pointed to questions, and stood beside some of the students to get them to focus. 

3. Susan You t is (School Secretary) 

Susan Young was the school secretary in 2009. The tests were kept in the vault where 
student records were kept Only she and Principal Kelsey had the key to the vault. She knew that 
in 2008, an answer sheet went missing over a weekend and knew Principal Kelsey was there that 
weekend. 



238 



4. Lisa Hubbard (Teacher) 



Lisa Hubbard was flagged for high wrong-tori ght erasures in all subjects. She stated that 
she had been suspended on allegations she had struck a student. She did not plan on returning to 
work for APS. There was a lot of pressure to meet targets, especially from the SRT directors and 
other school administrators. She denied cheating. 

5. Valerie Oliver (Teacher) 

Valerie Oliver was a fourth grade teacher in 2008. During the 2008 CRCT, she picked up 
her students' test booklets on the Monday following the first week of testing and found that they 
were out of order. She told the testing coordinator, Tracey Fisher, who stated that it must have 
been a result of how Fisher had picked them up and handed them to Oliver. 

E. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

/. Janice Kelsey (Principal) 

Janice Kelsey was principal of Thomasville Heights Elementary School in 2009 and 
retired after the 2008-2009 school year. She presently works part-time at a charter school run by 
former Thomasville Heights teacher Raine Hackler. Kelsey was placed on a PDP for her last 
two or three years by Michael Pitts for failure to meet targets and "other reasons." She and Pitts 
did not get along. They had different management philosophies and styles. Principal Kelsey 
inherited a number of disgruntled employees who wrote an anonymous letter to Pitts about her. 
Pitts came to the school and conducted a survey of the employees with regard to her leadership 
style. She believed there was pressure in the system but tried not to pass it on. She denied 
telling teachers she would put them on a PDP for low test scores. Teachers who said that about 
her "were lying " 

Principal Kelsey recalled the OIR investigations in 2008 and the missing answer sheet. 
Giselle Brown found the missing answer sheet behind a shelf when she was cleaning her 
classroom at the end of the school year. Principal Kelsey believes that the answer sheet fell 
behind the shelf before Brown turned them in and that her instructional coaches, Stacey 
Brundage and Makisha Boddie, miscounted the tests. 

Regarding her car being seen at the school over the 2008 CRCT weekend when the 
answer sheet was missing, Principal Kelsey recalled that she went to the school that Saturday, 
which she usually did not do during testing week. She had her grandsons with her but could not 
recall her reason for going to the school that weekend. She does not recall how long she was at 
the school, and denies that any staff members were present. 

Principal Kelsey had no idea why people would suspect her of doing anything to the tests. 
She said if she was going to cheat she would have done it well enough to make targets. Principal 
Kelsey denied going to the school on the weekend of the CRCT in 2009. She did not remember 
going into Emily Cohen's class during the 2008 CRCT and denied re-reading questions to 
Cohen's students. 



239 



Principal Kelsey was surprised at the high number of flagged classes at Thomasville 
Heights. She had no explanation for the erasures and did not know of anyone who would have 
cheated. 

2. Trace y Fisher (Testing Coordinator) 

Tracey Fisher was the testing coordinator in 2009 and recalled having one OIR complaint 
filed against her, which resulted in a suspension. She gave the wrong tests to a class of PEC 
students, who were all supposed to have the same version. By the time she discovered they had 
the wrong version, students had begun marking on the answer sheets. Fisher erased the answer 
sheets arid returned them to the teacher with new booklets. She stated she was not trying to 
cheat. 

There was a lot of pressure on teachers to raise test scores. Former Principal Janice 
Kelsey and current Principal Charles Penn threatened to put teachers on PDPs for low test scores. 
She recalled the incident of the missing test answer sheet from Ms. Brown's class. Fisher said 
she counted the sheets and there were 19 sheets turned in on Friday but on Monday they only 
found 18. She recalled that Brown mentioned that her test booklets were out of order. Fisher 
suspects that Principal Kelsey took the answer sheets to change answers and forgot to put one 
back. She was told by Makisha Boddie that Principal Kelsey' s car was at the school on the 
weekend that the answer sheet went missing. 

Fisher does not recall an incident during the 2009 CRCT administration concerning a test 
booklet given to one of Deborah Clements' students that had answers already marked. She stated 
that if such an incident occurred, it happened with a different type of test where the booklets are 
reused, and not the CRCT. Fisher said stray marks were erased in a conference room. In a 
previous interview, Fisher denied that stray marks were erased. Teachers were allowed to pick 
up their tests as early as 7:30 a.m. for the CRCT. She was following the directive of Principal 
Kelsey. Fisher was aware that early pick-up would provide teachers with a significant amount of 
time alone with the test documents. 

F. Other Evidence 

• In 2008-2009, Thomasville Heights met AYP. 

• In 2009-20 10, Thomasville Heights did not meet AYP, 

• Thomasville Heights did not meet its district targets in 2007, 2008, 2009, 
and 2010. 

• One second grade teacher flagged in all subjects in 2009 was flagged 
again in all subjects in 2010, with even higher standard deviations for 
wrong-to-right erasures. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that cheating occurred at Thomasville Heights on the CRCT in 2009 and in 
other years. Jennitra Oliver prompted her students to change answers from wrong to right by 



240 



rephrasing questions students had missed and telling students to remember what she had taught 
them in class. Theresa Nickolich admitted to prompting students by pointing to questions she 
knew they had missed and telling them tore-read it, and by re-reading questions. 

We also conclude that Testing Coordinator Tracey Fisher either facilitated or participated 
in cheating in 2008 and 2009. 

In summary, we find Jennitra Oliver, Theresa Nickolich, Janice Kelsey and Tracey Fisher 
were involved in cheating on the 2009 CRCT. 

Principal Janice Kelsey failed in her ultimate responsibility for testing activities and for 
ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper securing for the 2009 CRCT. It is our 
conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this investigation, that 
Principal Kelsey failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately supervise testing 
activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, 
misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Dep artment of Education . 



241 



1 ICKi: 1 I ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



3935 Run Road SW Principal: Dr. Anthony Dorsey SRT-I Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Dnvis-Willimus 

All nnin, Georgia 3033 1 Testing Coordinator: Angola Thomas 

T. TNVESTTGATTVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Fickett Elementary in 2009. Thirty-nine people were 
interviewed at Fickett, some more than once. Two teachers confessed to cheating. Cheating at 
Fickett is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, confessions and witness testimony. 
Principal Anthony Dorsey failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

IL STATISTICAL DATA 

A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


51.4 


y.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


37 


7 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3,0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


17(13) 


7 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from Stale Norm 


7.0 


3.9 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


20 


5.5 




3 i 


3.0 



242 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard. 




Test 


Deviation 


NJIE 


1 RD 


5.613835169 


NJIE 


1 LA 


5.247525305 


N.IIE 


1 MA 


3.783090582 


PARKER 


1 RD 


3/158742598 


PARKER 


1 LA 


3.244756480 


ROMENESKO 


1 RD 


3.299238647 


LITTLE 


2 LA 


5.068094291 


LITTLE 


2 MA 


6.779296001 


MARTIN 


2 LA 


6.876834481 


MARTIN 


2 MA 


5.284125896 


TAYLOR 


2 LA 


4.72562397 


TICKLES 


2 RD 


5.9150809 


TICKLES 


2 LA 


4.758242311 


TICKLES 


2 MA 


5. 060000744 


W ATKINS 


2 LA 


4.618315338 


W ATKINS 


2 MA 


8.60631 1776 


CARTER 


3 RD 


6.82539656 


CARTER 


3 LA 


4.924853502 


CARTER 


3 MA 


6.605357541 


KING 


3 RD 


3.779877173 


KING 


3 LA 


3.903783686 


REDD 


3 LA 


3.630615899 


YOUNG 


3 RD 


16 47921964 


YOUNG 


3 LA 


10,3293602 


YOUNG 


3 MA 


8.41 1 153143 


MILES 


'1 RD 


17.71092772 


MILES 


4 LA 


9.970842028 


MILES 


4 MA 


8.700386529 


SCOTT 


4 RD 


6.378501335 


SCOTT 


4 LA 


5,402838655 


SCOTT 


4 MA 


5,193382083 


WHEELER 


4 RD 


7.988916116 


WHEELER 


4 LA 


3.140110356 


WHEELER 


4 MA 


4,844024558 


GRAY 


5 RD 


8.993842585 


WILROURN 


5 RD 


19,98720414 


WILBOURN 


5 MA 


14.53405541 



in. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Fickett Elementary School was 
not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 51.4% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only 20 schools in APS with a higher percentage that year. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT 
only six schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Fickett Elementary School. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
significantly from 51.4% to 9.3%. 



243 



Fourth, of the 37 flagged classrooms at Fickett Elementary School, 24 (64.8% of the 
total) had standard deviations that exceeded five, and five classrooms exceeded ten standard 
deviations. At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred 
without adult intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard 
deviations the probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations 
from the state mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad 
scale at Fickett. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to -right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Fickett, 72.3% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
51.4% of the total classrooms in the school. 

In addition, Principal Dorsey created an environment that encouraged cheating. He 
informed teachers of the exact number of students that needed to meet expectations on the CRCT 
to make APS targets. He was pressured by SRT-1 Executive Director, Dr. Sharon Davis- 
Williams to make targets, and he in turn pressured his teachers. 

B. Narrative 

At least two teachers cheated by prompting students to erase and change their own 
answers. The number of classes flagged across all subject areas, and every grade level, is 
consistent with the pattern at schools system-wide where teachers confessed to organized 
cheating by erasing. 

Principal Anthony Dorsey pressured teachers to improve test scores and meet targets, 
threatening those who did not meet expectations with PDPs. Teachers were anxious about the 
pressure to raise scores and about the new, more rigorous evaluation process put in place. Those 
who confessed to cheating felt it was necessary to keep their jobs. 

Principal Dorsey says he had the only key to the area where the tests were stored. When 
Testing Coordinator Angela Thomas needed access, Dorsey unlocked the door for her. The door 
locked automatically upon closing. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Karen Wilbourn (Teacher) 
Karen Wilbourn was a fifth grade teacher and confessed to cheating on the CRCT in 

2009. 

Wilbourn admitted that she and her proctor, Wanda Patterson, gave students the answers 
during CRCT testing in 2009. She stated that the proctor assisted her in making answer keys, 
particularly for the math and reading portions of the test. She and Patterson would use the 
answer keys to provide students with correct answers. She stated that 2009 was the only year she 
cheated. Principal Dorsey told teachers that they would be put on a PDP if they did not have 
enough students meeting and exceeding expectations on the CRCT. She believes Principal 
Dorsey knew there was cheating. He made it clear that they needed to meet targets. 



244 



2. Charlene Martin (Teacher) 

Charlene Martin was a second grade teacher in 2009. She confessed to using voice 
inflection to prompt students when reading the questions and answers on the CRCT. If she saw 
that a student answered a question incorrectly, she told the student to go back and check it. 
Martin's motivation for cheating was the pressure she felt from the administration, and because 
she wanted to keep her job. There was a lot of pressure on teachers to have their classes meet 
AYP and APS targets. Charlene Martin was told by students during her first year at Fickett that 
teachers had helped them in the past during testing. She wished she had reported that 
information to APS. 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

/. Anthony Dorsey (Principal) 

We interviewed Principal Anthony Dorsey on three occasions. He was represented by 
counsel each time. He became principal of Fickett in 2007-2008. Principal Dorsey admitted that 
he informed teachers how many students needed to pass the test in order to meet their targets. 
He was very knowledgeable about the data concerning targets and was interested in raising the 
math scores at Fickett. He was the only one with access to the room where the tests were kept, 
and unlocked the door for the testing coordinator, Angela Thomas. He stated that Thomas 
secured the door as she left the room. He did not believe that cheating occurred but could not 
explain the high erasures at his school. 

Principal Dorsey stated in his first interview that he did not feel pressure to make targets 
and did not understand why APS and teachers felt that "making the floor" at Convocation was 
important. He admitted that Davis-Williams pushed targets and told him that his job was to 
make targets. Fickett has never made targets under his leadership. 

Tn his second interview, Principal Dorsey was asked to clarify his contradictory 
statements concerning targets. He explained that he was concerned about student achievement 
rather than meeting targets. In his third interview, Principal Dorsey refused to answer questions 
concerning why there were such high wrong-to-right erasures at Fickett in 2009. Through his 
counsel, he stated that he already answered that question and had nothing more to say. 

2. Wanda Patterson (Teacher) 

Wanda Patterson was a teacher at Fickett in 2009. She taught small groups of gifted 
children in several subject areas in grades one though five. Patterson served as a proctor during 
CRCT testing. She said Karen Wilboum would go to particular students and point to the answer. 
This caused the students to erase and change the answers. Patterson denied that she also pointed 
out answers to students. 

3. Angela Thomas (Testing Coordinator) 

Angela Thomas was the testing coordinator at Fickett in 2009. She stated that Principal 
Dorsey had the key card to the room where the tests were kept and access to the school building 
after hours and on weekends. Dessie Hardwick, Mary King and Assistant Principal Shirley 



245 



Smith helped Thomas administer the test Thomas never erased anything on students' tests or 
felt pressure to make targets. She stated she was never told that a particular student must pass the 
CRCT. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Charlene Martin, Karen Wilbourn, and Wanda Patterson cheated on the 
2009 CRCT. Based on the statistical evidence and the evidence we have found at schools with 
similar statistical data, we believe that the flagged teachers at Fickett cheated in the same 
manner. However, we lack sufficient evidence to determine which additional teachers cheated. 

It is our conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this 
investigation, that Principal Dorsey failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT and adequately 
supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and he is responsible for, 
falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



246 



HUTCHINSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



650 Cleveland Avenue Principal: Dr. Rebecca Dashiell-Mitchell SRT-2 Executive Director MichaeL Pitts 

Atlanta, Georgia 30315 Testing Coordinator: David Brown 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Hutchinson Elementary in 2009. Twenty-one people 
at this school were interviewed, some more than once. Cheating at Hutchinson is evidenced by a 
high number of flagged classrooms, a confession and witness testimony. Principal Rebecca 
Dashiell-Mitchell failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

K STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2(ire> 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


47 


1.6 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


31 


1 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


14(9) 


1(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


8.J 


3.6 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


26.6 


3.6 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


3.6 



247 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Tcachei-s 


Grade & 
Test 


Standard 
Deviation 


El XLS 


1 RD 


4.983861483 


ELLIS 


1 LA 


6.464134027 


ELLIS 


1 MA 


8.66682616 


GREGOIRE 


1 RD 


649358428 


GREGOTRF, 


1 LA 


10.44392629 




1 MA 


8.056756575 




1 RD 


8.469019887 


JAMES 


1 LA 


9,337532558 


JAMES 


1 MA 


1 1.22006373 


PHILLIPS 


1 RD 


6.612179083 


PHILLIPS 


1 LA 


6.664243578 




1 MA 


12.33001556 


ROSSER 


1 LA 


3.284978617 


POLLOCK 


2 RD 


6.95120196 


POLLOCK 


2 LA 


8.75822097 


POLLOCK 




7.3295 L4704 


TRUITT 


2 MA 


4.098384896 


,mr T TO 

WILLIS 


2 RD 


4.144427467 




3 RD 


4 050555889 




3RD 


4.952403437 


STROZIER 


3 RD 


8.495768181 


STROZIER 


3 MA 


3.172082989 


PATTERSON 


4RD 


3.069905974 


PATTERSON 


4 LA 


4.069629285 


PATTERSON 


4 MA 


3.572792509 


S WEUARoxv i 


4 RD 


9,255002155 


SWEDARSKY 


4 LA 7.029930938 


SWEDARSKY 


4 MA 7.543710616 


NGUYEN 


5 RD 26.55535419 


NGUYEN 


5 LA 9.809644757 


NGUYEN 


5 MA 24.91448727 



in. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts that point to the conclusion that Hutchinson Elementary School 
was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 47% for the 2009 CRCT. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only seven schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Hutchinson Elementary 
School. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
dramatically from 47% to 1.6%, 

Fourth, of the 31 flagged classrooms at Hutchinson Elementary School, 21 (68% of the 
total) had standard deviations that exceeded five, and five classrooms exceeded ten standard 
deviations. At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred 
without adult intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard 



1 5937') 3 



248 



deviations the probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations 
from the state mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad 
scale at this school. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures, 72.1% were produced by the flagged classrooms, which account for only 47% of the 
total classrooms in the school. 

Last, one teacher confessed to giving his students the answers while administering the 
2009 CRCT. Teachers were surprised when low-performing students passed the test despite 
their poor performance on benchmark tests and in the classroom. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Hau Nfmven (Teacher) 

Hau Nguyen admitted to cheating in 2009. Nguyen walked around the classroom during 
the test and stood over his students while they answered questions. If the student answered 
incorrectly, Nguyen would point to the right answer. He assisted students every fifth question or 
so. 

Yolanda Udoh proctored for Nguyen's class during the 2009 CRCT. Nguyen believes 
Udoh must have noticed what he was doing. She did not come back after the fourth day of 
testing and he does not know whether she reported him for cheating. 

When The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published the erasure analysis done by GOSA, 
Principal Rebecca Dashiell-Mitchell gave teachers a questionnaire that asked them to explain 
their high number of wrong-to-right erasures. Nguyen filled out the questionnaire and was then 
called to Principal Dashiell-Mitchell' s office to meet with her to discuss his response. Testing 
Coordinator David Brown was present when Nguyen and Principal Dashiell-Mitchell met. 

2. Marly Gre voire ( Teacher) 

When The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published the results of the wrong-to-right 
erasure analysis, Dashiell-Mitchell placed a one-page questionnaire in each teacher's box. The 
questionnaire asked the flagged teachers to write any reasons why their classroom had so many 
wrong-to-right erasures. Principal Dashiell-Mitchell then met with each teacher to discuss the 
erasure analysis and their explanations. 

Gregoire was surprised that some of her students passed the CRCT despite indications 
that they would not pass. She suspected that Nguyen cheated because his students achieved near 
perfect pass rates on the test. 

3. Yolanda Udoh (Proctor) 

Yolanda Udoh was the proctor of Hau Nguyen's classroom during the 2009 CRCT. 
Udoh denied observing Nguyen assist students by giving them answers to the 2009 CRCT. 



159379 3 



249 



4. David Brown (Testing Coordinator) 



David Brown gave the investigators the form that Principal Dashiell -Mitchell gave to the 
flagged teachers requesting an explanation for the flags. Principal Dashiell-Mitchell told Brown 
that the teachers did not write on the forms and that she did not collect them. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Dr. Rebecca Dashiell-Mitchell (Principal) 

Principal Dashiell-Mitchell was interviewed at least two times over the course of this 
investigation At her first interview, Dashiell-Mitchell denied conducting her own investigation 
and denied distributing a questionnaire regarding erasures on the 2009 CRCT. When a GBI 
agent showed her a copy of the questionnaire obtained from a teacher, Principal Dashiell- 
Mitchell remembered handing it out. She said that she could not provide a copy of the answered 
questionnaires because the teachers did not actually write answers, they just met to discuss them. 
When we interviewed Principal Dashiell-Mitchell she remembered both that she issued 
questionnaires (she said that she denied it to the GBI because they called it a "survey" and she 
called it an "audit") and that the teachers filled out the answers. However, she was unable to 
give them to us because she did not keep them. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that teacher Hau Nguyen cheated on the 2009 CRCT. Based on the 
statistical evidence and the evidence we have found at schools with similar statistical data, we 
believe that other flagged teachers cheated in the same manner. However, we lack sufficient 
evidence to determine which additional teachers cheated. 

We also find that Principal Dashiell-Mitchell failed in her ultimate responsibility for 
supervising testing activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security 
for, the 2009 CRCT. It is our conclusion from the statistical data and other evidence secured in 
this investigation that Principal Dashiell-Mitchell failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT and 
adequately supervise testing activities. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, 
misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



I W 179 3 



250 



CAPITOL VIEW ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1442 Metropolitan Parkway Principal: Arlene Snowden SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts 

Atlanta, Georgia 30310 Testing Coordinator: Trennis Harvey 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Capitol View Elementary in 2009. Thirty-seven 
people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Cheating is evidenced by a high 
number of flagged classrooms. Principal Arlene Snowden falsified attendance records in 2009 
and in other years, and failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

H. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


70.8 


19.0 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


34 


8 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


12(11) 


4(3) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


11.4 


4 


High F lagged Standard Deviation 


20.3 


6.2 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


4.7 


3.2 



251 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


JONES 


I RD 


7.203792952 


JONES 


1 LA 


6.795730409 


JONES 


1 MA 


13 17567274 


ROBERTSON 


1 RD 


12.6333877 


ROBERTSON 


1 LA 


13. 17067211 


ROBERTSON 


1 MA 


13.88294262 


LONG I NO 


2 RD 


5.084938216 


LONGINO 


2 LA 


9.127838661 


I.ONGINO 


2 MA 


9.654566353 


MORELAND 


2 LA 


4.892918323 


GOODMAN 


3 RD 


10.66126736 


GOODMAN 


3 LA 


12.07847995 


GOODMAN 


3 MA 


1 (.56960919 


JACKSON 


3 RD 


9.740819486 


JACKSON 


3 LA 


9.605708465 


JACKSON 


3 MA 


10.38831197 


ROSS 


3 RD 


12.0873275 


ROSS 


3 LA 


15.20524426 


ROSS 


3 MA 


20.34651763 


HUMM1NGS 


4RD 


17.19047309 


HUMM1NGS 


4 I A 


11.5437338 


HUM MINGS 


4 MA 


17.15986815 


WRIGHT 


4 RD 


8291637643 


WRIGHT 


4 LA 


4.705049781 


WRIGHT 


4 MA 


9.624676572 


BENNETT 


5 RD 


13-98962206 


BENNETT 


5 LA 


8.066369977 


BENNETT 


5 MA 


16.87181048 


PIRTLE 


5 RD 


16.51922992 


PIRTEE 


5 LA 


8.213768677 


PIRTLE 


5 MA 


12.10537845 


SMILEY 


5 RD 


14. 19492007 


SMILEY 


5 LA 


6.866148885 


SMILEY 


5 MA 


13.87975717 



TIL SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several significant facts which point to the conclusion that Capitol View 
Elementary School was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately 
reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 70.8% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only six schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only one school had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
from 70.8% to 19%. 

Fourth, of the 34 flagged classrooms at Capitol View, 32 (94% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and 20 classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 



252 



standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations, the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Capitol View. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Capitol View, 94% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for 
70.8% of the total classrooms in the school, 

Last, Principal Snowden stated that erasures could be explained by teaching strategies. 
Capitol View teaches its children to go back and check their work, and erase answers that may be 
incorrect. Principal Snowden provided no reason why this method - common throughout the 
country - produced significantly more wrong-to-right erasures at Capitol View than most schools 
in Georgia. When asked if teachers changed answers at her command, Principal Snowden stated 
"Did cheating happen? I don't know, I didn't do it, I know that," and that she "can't make 
anyone do anything unless I have a gun to their heads, adults are going to be adults." 

B. Nar rail v e 

Capitol View had extremely high numbers of wrong-to-right erasures on the 2009 CRCT, 
particularly in the first, third, fourth, and fifth grades. Multiple teachers discussed students who 
lacked the skills to meet expectations on the 2009 CRCT, but met or exceeded expectations. 
Multiple teachers testified that Principal Snowden placed great pressure on them to return high 
scores on the CRCT. 

Corlis Robertson provided an explanation for the high number of wrong-to-right erasures 
in the first grade. No explanation was provided for the high erasures in the third, fourth, and 
fifth grades. 

At least one teacher acknowledged that cheating occurred on the 2009 CRCT. Principal 
Snowden directed an office worker to falsify attendance records. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Tiffany Kelley (Teacher) 

Tiffany Kelley stated that teachers did not have enough time during the testing period to 
change the number of answers that were changed on the 2009 CRCT. Kelly believes that none 
of the flagged teachers would have assisted Principal Snowden in changing CRCT answer sheets 
because of the lack of a close relationship with her. 



253 



2. Marcus Goodman (Teacher) 



When shown the 2009 CRCT erasure data for Capitol View, Marcus Goodman agreed 
that cheating must have occurred. Goodman denied changing any answers, but had no 
explanation for the high number of erasures on his students' answer sheets. 

3. April Gomez-McMillian (Teacher) 

April Gomez-McMillian did not administer the 2009 CRCT to any students, but served as 
a hall monitor. She described the pressure placed on teachers by Principal Snowden to achieve 
high CRCT scores. "Making the floor" was very important to Principal Snowden. Principal 
Snowden and Trennis Harvey analyzed the APS targets and informed the teachers how many of 
their students could fail to meet expectations on the CRCT. When CRCT scores were 
announced, Principal Snowden called all teachers into a meeting and displayed the scores. 
Principal Snowden praised and applauded the teachers whose students met APS targets. 

4. Corlis Robertson (Teacher) 

Corlis Robertson denied any knowledge of cheating on the 2009 CRCT. She testified 
that she and Kimberly Jones participated in a pilot teaching program in 2009. The assessments 
in the teaching model all required students to select multiple correct answers. She gave the 
following example: the test question asks the student to select all words below that have the 
"long e" sound in them. Two or three of the answer choices would contain the "long e" sound, 
and the students were required to select all correct answers to receive full credit for the question. 
Robertson explained that although the 2009 CRCT required students to select only one correct 
answer, the first grade students were confused and often selected more than one answer. She had 
to repeatedly instruct students to select only the best answer, and to erase all incorrect answers. 
Only the first grade teachers participated in this program in 2009. 

5. Michael Ross (Teacher) 

Michael Ross stated that the APS target system is unfair to children. He attempted to get 
extra help for students who struggled, but not qualify for extra assistance because their CRCT 
scores were too high. 

APS referred Ross to the Georgia Professional Standards Commission for having a high 
"Caveon Index." The first time he received notification that he was under suspicion for cheating 
was when he received notice from the PSC. Ross was never interviewed by the Blue Ribbon 
Commission or anyone from APS. He stated that he never cheated, was never asked to cheat, 
and had no knowledge of cheating on the CRCT. 

Ross stated that he saw a large decrease in Capitol View students exceeding expectations 
on the 2010 CRCT as opposed to the 2009 CRCT. 



254 



D. 



Testimony of Individuals Implicated 



1. 



Trennis Harvey (Testing Coordinator) 



Trennis Harvey stated that during the 2009 CRCT testing window, Principal Snowden 
only worked until lunch due to health issues. Harvey stated that he had a spare key to 
Snowden' s office, and only he and Snowden possessed keys. Snowden left the building as soon 
as the tests were returned to her office, and locked her office before she left. Snowden always 
instructed Harvey that "she wanted to be the one to open her office and the one to be the last one 
to lock it to make sure everything was secured." 

Trennis Harvey stated that if adults changed CRCT answers, he had no knowledge of it, 
and denied any unethical behavior on his part. When asked if Principal Snowden may have 
changed answers, Harvey replied "Well, I can only say 100% for myself. But what I will say is 
that she never gave me any inkling that it was occurring, or that it could be occurring." He did 
not believe Principal Snowden changed CRCT answer sheets. 



Principal Snowden denied any knowledge of cheating on the CRCT in 2009 or any other 
year. Capitol View never had a testing irregularity under her tenure. She now works at the APS 
central office, having been transferred after the Blue Ribbon Commission Report. She believes 
that this investigation and the Blue Ribbon Commission were politically motivated, and that her 
transfer from Capitol View by APS was politically motivated as well. She believes she was 
targeted as a scapegoat by APS. She also stated that she does not "buy in to the whole erasure 
bit," meaning that she does not believe the erasure analysis to be indicative of cheating. 

Principal Snowden stated that erasures could be explained by teaching strategies. Capitol 
View teaches its children to go back and check their work and erase answers that may be 
incorrect. Snowden provided no reason why this method - common throughout the country - 
produced significantly more wrong-to-right erasures at Capitol View than most schools in 
Georgia. When asked if teachers changed answers at her command, Snowden stated, "Did 
cheating happen? I don't know, I didn't do it, I know that." She further stated that she "can't 
make anyone do anything unless I have a gun to their heads, adults are going to be adults." 

Snowden acknowledged that only she and Trennis Harvey had keys to access the CRCT 
materials in 2009. 

E. Other Evidence 



Michelle Redwine testified that Principal Snowden falsified attendance records. Redwine 
worked in the front office and was responsible for creating folders for teachers that recorded 
attendance and tardy records. She described one instance when such a folder was given to her by 
Snowden empty of records. Snowden instructed Redwine to recreate the records, Redwine 
understood that fewer absences should be shown. Unknown to Snowden, the teacher in question 
kept a second set of records allowing Redwine to accurately recreate the records. Redwine stated 



2. 



Arlene Snowden (Principal) 



1. 



Michelle Redwine (Paraprofessional) 



255 



the accurately recreated records were also subsequently lost, and that multiple teachers voiced 
complaints of similar issues with attendance records. 



IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude thai Principal Ailene Snowden falsified attendance records. 

It is our conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this 
investigation that Principal Snowden failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT and adequately 
supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, 
falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



256 



TOWNS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 

760 Bo! ton Road Principal: Carla Peltis SELT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotman. 

Atlant a, Georgia 3033 1 Tesli ng Coordinator: Dr. Dorothy Keen 



I. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Towns Elementary School in 2009. Forty-two people 
were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Cheating is evidenced at Towns by high 
numbers of flagged classrooms. Principal Carla Pettis falsified attendance records at this school 
and failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2Q09vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


6.16 


12.1 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WVR Erasures 


42 


8 


Number ol' l enchers Flag&ed for WTR Standard L>cviaUoiis above 


16(14) 


5(3) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from Suite Norm 


8.6 


4.0 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


16.1 


5.1 




3.7 


3.0 



257 



B. Flagged Classrooms 





Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


DYKES 


1 RD 


11.16874145 


DYKES 


1 LA 


7.566044607 


DYKES 


1 MA 


5.005126128 


FOSTER 


2 RD 


5,675632634 


FOSTER 


2 LA 


6.189106522 


FOSTER 


2 MA 


5.6588774 


NERO 


2 MA 


3.827116987 


W ADD EI , 


2 RD 


4.639239175 


WADDEL 


2 LA 


8.780351531 


WADDEL 


2 MA 


8.470834727 


COR.BE TT 


3 RD 


5.313970403 


CORBETT 


3 LA 


6.839071744 


CORBETT 


3 MA 


11.76788515 


FARMER 


3RD 


8.495768181 


FARMER 


3 LA 


4.072435023 


FARMER 


3 MA 


7.523044579 


NASH 


3 RD 


6-997372147 


NASH 


3 LA 


4.611869244 


NASH 


3 MA 


9.66038967 


TROFORT 


3 RD 


6.639906071 


TROFORT 


3 MA 


4.094854428 


GILBERT 


4 MA 


5 744326994 


GREEN 


4RD 


3.73568251 


GREEN 


4 MA 


10.50930578 


WEARS 


4 RD 


12.36810578 


WEAKS 


4 LA 


7.19341 1565 


WEAKS 


4 MA 


3.929096979 


WOOTEN 


4RD 


11.51578308 


WOOTEN 


4 LA 


15.10221601 


WOOTEN 


4 MA 


16.14723092 


BUR.SON 


5 RD 


12.70347511 


BURSON 


5 LA 


10.30020245 


BURS ON 


5 MA 


13.86202075 


MORRISON 


5 RD 


11 76340829 


MORRISON 


5 LA 


11.83901344 


MORRISON 


5 MA 


9.848021516 


STEWARD 


5 RD 


10.16101793 


STEWARD 


5 LA 


5.754511104 


STEWARD 


5 MA 


15.94607529 


THOMAS 


5 RD 


12 70347511 


THOMAS 


5 LA 


7.528097453 


THOMAS 


5 MA 


10.98091468 



m. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Qvervi ew 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Towns Elementary School was 
not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 63.6% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only 12 schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only two schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Towns Elementary School. 



258 



Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
significantly from 63.6% to 12.1%. 

Fourth, of the 42 flagged classrooms at Towns Elementary School, 35 (83% of the total) 
had standard deviations that exceeded five, and 16 classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. 
At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Towns Elementary School. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Towns, 89.1% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
63.6% of the total classrooms in the school. 

Last, the statements of Principal Carla Pettis are in direct conflict with other witnesses. 
Principal Pettis claimed she left the school at 3:30 p.m. during CRCT testing, and that she left 
with Testing Coordinator Dorothy Keen. But Keen stated that she always stayed late during 
testing. A staff member corroborated Keen's testimony. Principal Pettis also denied hiring her 
mother and aunt to help proctor the CRCT. Keen saw both the mother and aunt at the school 
during the CRCT. Compounding the conflict, Principal Pettis refused to answer questions under 
oath. 

/. Michelle Tor rev (Office Paravrofesskmal) 

In 2009, Michelle Torrey was a paraprofessional working in the front office where 
Principal Pettis' office was also located. Torrey' s desk was next to the conference room off of 
Principal Pettis' office where the tests were primarily kept during the 2009 CRCT. 

At the end of the testing period each day, teachers took the tests to the media center 
where they checked them in with Testing Coordinator Dr. Dorothy Keen. Keen then wheeled the 
tests on a cart to the conference room off of Principal Pettis' office and next to Torrey' s desk. 
Keen was generally with the tests in the conference room throughout the afternoon. On a few 
occasions Principal Pettis was there as well. Around 4:30 or 5:00 p.m., the tests were taken to 
yet another room where they were "secured." According to Torrey, they were taken to a room 
"off of the back hall." Sometimes when Torrey left for the day around 5:00 p.m. the tests were 
still in the conference room. 

Torrey saw people erasing things on the answer sheets, but she assumed they were 
correcting names and student identification numbers. Keen did not let the teachers put student 
identification numbers on the answer sheets, but insisted on doing it herself. 

The room where the tests were kept was locked but Principal Pettis, Keen, the secretary 
Ms. Thomas, and the night custodian all had keys. 



259 



Principal Pettis hired retired teachers to assist with various events, like field day and the 
CRCT. Two of those teachers were Principal Pettis' mother and aunt. In 2009, they proctored 
during the CRCT. 

Torrey kept the attendance and discipline records at Towns. Beginning in 2004, Principal 
Pettis instructed Torrey to delete and falsify attendance records to a level that was within the 
target numbers for AYP. Teachers entered the attendance for their class each day. At the end of 
the year, Pettis asked Torrey what the numbers were for the school. If the numbers were high, 
Torrey asked teachers if they had tardy slips they had "missed " Some of the veteran teachers 
knew what this question meant and produced false tardy slips. If the tardy slips were not enough 
to get the attendance numbers within the target, Principal Pettis directed Torrey to alter the 
absences in the computer system. 

Torrey believes there was cheating at Towns on the CRCT but that it is more likely the 
administrators and not the teachers who cheated. 

2. Chenee Gilbert (Teacher) 

Chenee Gilbert no longer teaches in APS. She left the system in part because of the 
pressure placed on test scores. Principal Pettis placed Gilbert on a PDP for test scores in 2005 or 
2006. She knows of other teachers who were placed on PDPs for test scores. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

/. Car la Pettis (Principal) 

Principal Pettis denied cheating; however, she refused to give testimony under oath. Her 
explanation for the abnormal number of wrong-to-right erasures is that students are taught the 
process of elimination. 

Principal Pettis denied that her mother and aunt helped during the 2009 CRCT testing 
week. She believes they did assist during the 2008 CRCT. 

Principal Pettis said that she left the school around 3:30 in the afternoon during CRCT 
testing. She and Dorothy Keen left together. 

We asked Principal Pettis why she believed the Governor asked us to investigate APS. 
She responded that she thinks the investigation is racially motivated: "I think that the city of 
Atlanta, that they [white people] want the city of Atlanta back, and in order to get it back, [they] 
have to destroy the schools first." 

2. Dr. Dorothy Keen (Testing Coordinator) 

Dorothy Keen was the testing coordinator in 2009, and she denied cheating. 

Each answer sheet required a student identification number. The student identification 
number is six digits. According to Keen, it takes approximately one second per sheet to fill in 
this number. If a student was new to the school their number needed to be filled in. Keen, with 



260 



assistance from the retired teachers and sometimes Principal Pettis, would check the tests to 
make sure all student identification numbers were present. If a student identification number 
was missing, Keen or one of her helpers would add the student identification number. There 
were only about five students whose student identification numbers were not already on the tests. 

According to Dr. Keen, tests were secured in Principal Pettis' office each evening. The 
tests were only in the conference room for a short period of time and then were moved into 
Principal Pettis' office, which was then locked. Keen stayed at the school until around 5:00 or 
6:00 p.m. 

Principal Pettis' mother Charlotte Everett and her aunt Mary Sherman are retired teachers 
and helped proctor during the 2009 CRCT. Retired teachers helped to enter student 
identification numbers in 2009. 

Keen stayed "late" in the evenings during testing. 

D. Other Evidence 

Kelli Augburn- John son, Dorothy Butler, and Gentrie Weaks testified that the teachers are 
intimidated and are not likely to tell investigators if cheating occurred at Towns. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We have concerns about the conflicting testimony of Michelle Torrey, Dorothy Keen, 
and Carla Pettis regarding the entering of student identification numbers and how late the testing 
coordinator and principal were at the school in the afternoons. However, the evidence is not 
sufficient to conclude that Dorothy Keen or Principal Carla Pettis cheated. 

It is our conclusion, from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this 
investigation that Principal Carla Pettis failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and 
adequately supervise the testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is 
responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 
CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 

We also find that Principal Carla Pettis directed Michelle Torrey to falsify attendance 
records. 



261 



BLALQCK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



CLOSED Principal: Frances Thompson SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotnian 

Tesiing Coordinators: Charla Cheatham 

L TNVESTTGATTVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Blalock Elementary in 2009. APS closed Blalock at 
the end of the 2008-2009 school year. However, Blalock Elementary was the primary feeder 
school into Harper- Archer Middle and former Blalock Principal Frances Thompson is now the 
principal of Harper-Archer Middle. The testimony discussed below came from interviews 
conducted at that school. Cheating at Blalock is evidenced by a high number of flagged 
classrooms and witness testimony. Principal Frances Thompson failed to properly monitor the 
2009 CRCT. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


l\^cerilage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Hrasiuus 


66.7 


N/A 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


26 


N/A 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


1 1 


N/A 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from Stale Norm 


15.1 


N/A 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


3SS.2 


N/A 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.9 


N/A 



262 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teachei 




Staintl ill'lJ 




Test 




HUNT 


1 MA 


4.50425563 


rrt.v_.ri r- l l 


1 RD 


J.OUJ fV/v>«J"v> 


GACHETT 


1 LA 


8 485545057 




1 MA 


1 ^Q?7^1(i 


MOM POINT 


2 RD 


4.266953431 


OKRKF, 


1 LA 




HT TMTFR 


3 RD 


OS 3S4707R3 




3 LA 


ii.uj J t*\j ivy 


WI TMTT7R 


3 MA 


23,79024 


TTTTTR MOMD 

1 _1 1 L > !>. 1 VI ^ Jl\ 1 J 


3 RD 


1 1 77^86(170 

11.'/ J>Ok>U / X 




3 LA 


If) Y37R1373 


THURMOND 


3 MA 




MAR 1 1 ALL 


3 RD 


14.94355801 


MAR HALL 


3 LA 


1 1.31142492 


MAR HALL 


3 MA 


1 1 94334015 


GRAVES 


4 RD 


8 493858299 


GRAVES 


4 LA 


7.9300 8 065 


ri .ood 


4RD 


19 58507323 


FLOOD 


4 LA 


17.52580503 


FJ ,OOD 


4 MA 


13 20184625 


JKFFKRSON 


5 RD 


21.85147016 


.TEFFERSON 


5 LA 


19.1172379 


JEFFERSON 


3 MA 


38 22817627 


BOYD 


5 RD 


16.47685954 


BOYD 


5 LA 


21.33040312 


BOYD 


5 MA 


30.97232589 



HE SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Blalock was not managed to 
ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 66.7% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only eleven schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only two schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Blalock. 

Third, of the 26 flagged classrooms at Blalock, 22 (85% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and 17 classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Blalock. 

Fourth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Blalock, 94.4% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
66.7% of the total classrooms in the school. 



263 



Finally, current Harper-Archer principal Frances Thompson was the principal at Blalock 
in 2009. A number of teachers at Harper-Archer believed there was cheating at Blalock, A 
teacher also told us that students from Blalock seemed to have learned that cheating was 
acceptable and often cheated at Harper- Archer. There have been conversations among teachers 
at Harper- Archer that Frances Thompson was brought to Harper- Archer by Tamara Cotman 
because she cheated at Blalock and Cotman wanted her to cheat at Harper- Archer to get test 
scores up. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Ke Hi Koen (Teacher) 

Kelli Koen testified that students in her classes that had previously attended Blalock 
talked about their teachers at Blalock giving them answers on the CRCT. Koen often talked with 
other Harper-Archer teachers about how many of their students had inflated test scores from 
elementary school. 

2. Malika Syphertt (Teacher) 

Malika Syphertt believes that there was cheating at Blalock. The students in her 
classroom who went to Blalock for elementary school are accustomed to cheating and attempt to 
cheat "regularly." She has taught sixth grade students who cannot multiply — a skill they should 
have learned in elementary school. 

Syphertt heard that former Harper-Archer principal Michael Milstead was asked to leave 
because Harper-Archer had not met AYP in two years and SRT-4 Director Cotman wanted a 
new principal who would get test scores up. 

3. Jerry Willard (Teacher) 

Jerry Willard testified that he has taught students that came from Blalock Elementary and 
he felt they were very far behind academically. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 
7. Frances Thompson (Principal) 

Principal Thompson denied that there was cheating at Blalock on the 2009 CRCT. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

The evidence suggests someone at Blalock cheated. However, we lack sufficient 
evidence to determine who specifically engaged in cheating. 

We conclude that Principal Frances Thompson failed in her ultimate responsibility for 
testing activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for, the 2009 
CRCT. It is our conclusion from the statistical data and other evidence secured in this 
investigation that Principal Frances Thompson failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and 



264 



adequately supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible 
for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the 
Georgia Department of Education. 



265 



WHITEFOORD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



35 Whitefoord Avenue, SR 
Atlanta. OA 30317 



Principal: Patricia I.avant 

Testing CooKliiifcor. Shaun Ciermaii-Tuckcr 



SRT-l Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis-Willuuus 



T. IIWESTTGATTVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Whitefoord Elementary in 2009. Thirty-two people 
were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Cheating at Whitefoord is evidenced by a 
high number of flagged classrooms, Principal Patricia Lavant failed to properly monitor the 
2009 CRCT. 



II. STATISTICAL DATA 

A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Magged Tor WTR Krasures 


59.3 


13.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


32 


6 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


14(9) 


5(D 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


7.0 


4.5 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


12,9 


6.0 




3.5 


3.1 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


ALEXANDER 


1 MA 


5.264860448 


RICHARDSON 


1 MA 


3.967454252 


CANTER CAIN 


2 MA 


3.540054612 


ROSALES 


2 RD 


9,475066106 


ROSALES 


2 LA 


4.601887446 


ROSALES 


2 MA 


7.368520452 


BOYANTON 


3 RD 


5. 79 1 856405 


BOY ANTON 


3 LA 


4.003054588 


BOYANTON 


3 MA 


9.454887209 


1 CHARLES 


3 RD 


5,256071631 




3 LA 


5.464209762 


CHARLES 


3 MA 


5.961345377 


WILSON 


3 RD 


3.851400073 


IT HUBERT 


4 RD 


4.494680016 


HERBERT 


4 LA 


4.660405272 


HERBERT 


4 MA 


4.071482246 


JOYNER KNIGHT 


4 RD 


10.5 14755 S3 


JOYNER KNIGHT 


4 LA 


4.83 5073703 


JOYNER KNIGHT 


4 MA 


6 099255533 


SIMPSON 


4RD 


9.795525526 


SIMPSON 


4 LA 


9 1 Q(.QA1 "7CC 
ft, IJOJQI 1 Bo 


SIMPSON 


4 MA 


5.713593313 


WASHINGTON 


4 MA 


3.83284220*2 


BRADLEY JAMES 


3RD 


11.87061022 


BRADLEY JAMES 


5 LA 


11.03151915 


BRADLEY JAMES 


5 MA 


11 80964867 


BYRD 


5 RD 


12.98517898 


BYRD 


5 LA 


8,032027764 


BYRD 


5 MA 


9.53207868 


COLLIER 


5 RD 


L2.4 1750665 


COLLIER 


5 LA 


4.905974642 


COLLIER 


5 MA 


5. 10644017 



HI. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

There are several facts which point to a conclusion that Whitefoord Elementary School 
was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 59.3% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only 14 schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only two had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Whitefoord Elementary School. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
from 59.3% to 13.3%. 

Fourth, of the 32 flagged classrooms at Whitefoord Elementary, 21 (66% of the total) bad 
standard deviations that exceeded five, and six classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At 
five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 



267 



mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Whitefoord Elementary School. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Whitefoord, 86% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
59.4% of the total classrooms in the school 

Principal Patricia Lavant was the principal at Whitefoord Elementary School for the 
entire W/2 years she was employed by APS. She remained past her eligible retirement time 
because the erasure scandal was "her mess to fix" and happened under her watch. She remained 
to do what she could for the teachers and the school. She said there was lots of pressure to 
improve on students' scores but not enough to do something immoral. We believe her, but 
conclude she failed in her managerial role. We commend her acceptance of responsibility for the 
situation we found at her school and find her acceptance of responsibility to be rare in APS. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

From all of the above, we believe that there is no other rational conclusion but that there 
was widespread cheating at Whitefoord Elementary School on the 2009 CRCT and that the 
principal should certainly have known of this misconduct. 

Principal Patricia Lavant failed in her ultimate responsibility for testing activities and for 
ensuring the ethical administration of and proper security for the 2009 CRCT. It is our 
conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this investigation that Ms. 
Lavant failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately supervise testing activities and 
test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or 
erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



268 



BOYD ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1 559 1 Johnson Rd. NW Principal: ninulyn Foreman SRT-4 Executive Director: Tiumra Cotmaii 

Atlanta, Georgia 30318 Testing Coordinator: I,ovie Alriclge 

L INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Boyd Elementary in 2009. Thirty-six people were 
interviewed at this school, some more than once. Cheating at Boyd is evidenced by a high 
number of flagged classrooms. Principal Emalyn Foreman failed to properly monitor the 2009 
CRCT. 

H. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





20(19 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


56.1 




15.7 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


31 


8 


Number of Teachers Flagged lor WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number or Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


13(11) 


6(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


8 5 


4.1 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


23.3 


6.3 


Low Flogged Standard Deviation 


3.3 


3.2 



269 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teachers 


Grades & 


Standard 




Test 


I) cvi a fci oti 




1 RD 


3, 392897049 




1 LA 


3.614377155 




1 MA 


4 72146137 


NA.SH 


1 LA 


7 7(iSH57?3 

.1 - / Uo 1 1 -J / 


NASH 


1 MA 


1 5 49 t )6fi'S SI 




1 LA 


5 946929996 


TYDTTW7 


1 MA 


4 413771 69*) 


WOT T TQ 

lHJU-4o 


1 RD 


11.00600298 




1 T A 


1 3 04619483 




1 MA 


14,47479705 


DISIIOP 


2 RD 


19.64372563 




2 LA 


22.68786194 


Did A 11 IV 


2 MA 


23.30240378 


lMjAjOkylN 


2 RD 


9.902731254 


MKT sriM 

In 1M unJlN 


2 LA 


4.401081 1 16 


IN r,J > IN 


2 MA 


631 S71 84i 


\\ JJ MTVWT 
Dr.IN IUlN 


2 RD 


10.8615193 




2 LA 


7, 17956838 




2 MA 


6 574156055 


CLARK 


2 RD 


5.260713844 


CI ARK 


2 LA 


3.784059819 


MCCORMICK 


3 RD 


12.16623541 


MCCORMICK 


3 LA 


8.913555206 


MCCORMICK 


3 MA 


8.686863626 


MOMON 


3 RD 


4.250014593 


MOMON 


3 LA 


8.233257646 


MOMON 


3 MA 


3.27411782 


EVERETT 


4RD 


7.459472938 


SAMUELS 


5 LA 


3.925887521 


ARCHIBALD 


5 RD 


3.393715-179 


ARCHIBALD 


5 LA 


5.763550874 


ARCHIBALD 


5 MA 


4.416404002 



m. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Boyd Elementary School was 
not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 56.1% for the 2009 CRCT. With state 
monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped from 56.1% to 15.7%. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only three schools had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Boyd. 

Third, of the 32 flagged classrooms at Boyd, 20 (62.5% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and nine classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the State 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at Boyd. 



270 



Fourth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Boyd, 86.1% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 56.1% 
of the total classrooms in the school. 

B. Narrative 

Cheating occurred on the 2009 CRCT by teachers or administrators erasing and changing 
student answers. Boyd Elementary has an open concept design in which classrooms have no 
doors. The tests were locked in a cabinet in the media center. Principal Foreman had the only 
key to the cabinet, the media specialist and Principal Foreman had the only keys to the media 
center. Although no witness testified to seeing anyone changing answers, the weight of the 
evidence indicates that cheating occurred at this school. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Ephigenia Paulk (Teacher) 

Ephigenia Paulk was a Spanish teacher at Boyd in 2009. Paulk claimed she had not 
witnessed cheating but believed cheating has occurred since the 1990s based on her observations 
of students' inability to read. She stated that Principal Foreman did not like teachers to report 
disciplinary issues because she expected teachers to resolve it on their own. Principal Foreman 
told her to change an F to a passing grade on more than one occasion, Principal Foreman has an 
inner circle including Tiffany Momon, Rhonda Nelson, Tiffany Hollis, and MignonHardemon. 

2. Shanay Benton (Teacher) 

Shanay Benton denied knowledge of cheating on the CRCT. On a couple of occasions 
while passing out her test booklets she noticed a few of them were out of order. Benton also 
indicated that Principal Foreman and Testing Coordinator Lovie Alridge pressured teachers to 
improve test scores, meet targets and "make the floor/' Benton believed that some targets were 
unattainable. 

3. Lovie Alridge (Testing Coordinator) 

Lovie Alridge was the Testing Coordinator in 2009. She did not erase answers or return 
to the school after hours. She did not believe that any teachers erased answers but thought that 
the erasures were caused by students changing answers. 

4. Shane lie Clark (Teacher) 

Shanelle Clark stated that she was not surprised by her students' scores. Lovie Alridge 
appeared to be very strict about testing protocol. Clark stated that Principal Foreman asked her 
to change an F to a passing grade because Clark had not followed proper procedures before 
giving the F. She resigned because she felt Principal Foreman made false reports against her 
when she was eligible for tenure. Principal Foreman had a close relationship with Alridge, 
Mignon Hardemon, Amzie Samuels and Tiffany Momon. 



271 



5. Chalita Bishop (Teacher) 



Chalita Bishop claimed it was impossible for a teacher to cheat on the CRCT. The 
testing coordinator had strict protocols. Bishop thought it was strange that particular students 
passed the test, but was sure that cheating had not occurred in her classroom. 

6. Misnon Har demon (Counselor) 

Mignon Hardemon was the counselor in 2009 and assisted Alridge with the tests. She 
recorded her interviews with us on her cellular phone. Hardemon had no explanation for the 
high wrong-to-right erasures. 

7. Emalyn Foreman (Principal) 

Emalyn Foreman was the principal of Boyd in 2009. She became principal in the 2008- 
2009 school year. She denied any cheating or knowledge of cheating. Foreman's explanation 
for the high wrong-to-right erasures was that students were taught to go back over their tests. 
She was not surprised by the students' high scores but could offer no explanation for the drop in 
scores in 2010. Principal Foreman denied she felt pressure to meet targets. She stated that Boyd 
did not meet its targets but had met AYP. 

Regarding allegations that she had told teachers to change an F to a passing grade, 
Principal Foreman explained that there was a process that had to be followed before a student 
could receive an F. Parents had to be notified and made part of the process and documentation 
had to be produced to justify the grade. 

Principal Foreman claimed that she had the only key to the cabinet in the media center 
where the tests were stored. She also had a key to the media center. Both keys were on a chain 
and locked in her desk. Only the testing coordinator had access to the tests during the testing 
window. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We believe there is no other conclusion but that there was widespread cheating at Boyd 
Elementary School on the 2009 CRCT and that the principal should have known of this. 

Principal Foreman failed in her ultimate responsibility for testing activities and for 
ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for the 2009 CRCT. It is our 
conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this investigation, that 
Principal Foreman failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately supervise testing 
activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, 
misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



272 



WEST MANOR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



570 I .ynhurst Drive, SW Principal: Cheryl Twyraan SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams 

Atlanta, GA 303 1 1 Testing Coordinator: Tiffany Harvey 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at West Manor Elementary in 2009, Thirty-two people 
were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Cheating at West Manor is evidenced by 
a high number of flagged classrooms. Principal Cheryl Twyman failed to properly monitor the 
2009 CRCT. 



n. STATISTICAL DATA 

A 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Inures 


.5 1 9 


28.9 


N umber or Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


28 


13 


Number of Teachers Flaggetl for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3-0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjec ts) 


13(9) 


8(3) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


7.9 


6.1 


High. Flagged Standard Deviation 


18.5 


19.8 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.3 


3.2 



B, Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 
Test 


Stsindanl 
Deviation 


ANDERSON 


1 MA 


3.908283396 


DALLAS 


1 MA 


5 6 1647X234 


WinTAKKR GRAHAM 


1 RD 


5,715533773 


WHTTAKTiR GRAHAM 


1 1 A 


4.742821 759 


WH1TAKER GRAHAM 


1 MA 


8.416864645 


PAGE 


2 LA 


5.034765376 


PAGE 


2 MA 


3.338647544 


WILDER 


2 I A 


4,50232861 


CARTER 


3 RD 


7.673099015 


CARTER 


3 LA 


5.322826534 


CARTER 


3 MA 


12.82614325 


LAWRENCE 


3 RD 


9.140511243 


LAWRENCE 


3 LA 


4.733632175 


LAWRENCE 


3 MA 


14.38694627 


LEWIS GAMBLE 


3RD 


13 82862802 


LEWIS GAMBLE 


3 LA 


8.995334767 


LEWIS GAMBLE 


3 MA 


18,49699548 


TURNER 


3 RD 


11.59467722 


TURNER 


3 LA 


6.2593922 


BTJLEARD 


4RD 


5.623989755 


JASPER 


4 RD 


6 343220061 


JASPER 


4 MA 


7.931151075 


BLOXSON 


5 RD 


5.927166066 


BI .OXSON 


5 LA 


4.351273098 


BLOXSON 


5 MA 


9.752388171 


FERGUS ON 


5 RD 


6.827040213 


FERGUSON 


5 LA 


6.941173209 


FERCrUSON 


5 MA 


12.42261959 



in. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

There are several facts which point to a conclusion that West Manor Elementary School 
was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 54.9% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only 17 schools in APS with a higher percentage. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only four had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than West Manor. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
from 54.9% to 28.9% 

Fourth, of the 28 flagged classrooms at West Manor, 22 (78% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and six classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at West 
Manor. 



274 



Fifth, is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures 82% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 54,9% of the 
total classrooms in the school 

Last, Principal Twyman had no explanation for the high standard deviations on the 2009 
CRCT at West Manor, and was barely cooperative. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We believe that there is no other rational conclusion but that there was widespread 
cheating at West Manor Elementary School on the 2009 CRCT and that the principal should 
have known of this misconduct. 

Principal Cheryl Twyman failed in her ultimate responsibility for testing activities and for 
ensuring the ethical administration of and proper security for the 2009 CRCT. It is our 
conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this investigation that 
Principal Cheryl Twyman failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT and adequately supervise 
testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, 
misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



275 



TURNER MIDDLE SCHOOL 

CLOSED Principal: Karen Riggins-Taylor SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotman 

Testing Coordinators: Melanie Robinson & Keala Edwards-Cooper 

T. TNVESTTGA TTVE STJMIVTARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Turner Middle in 2009, Two people were interviewed 
at this school. Cheating is evidenced at Turner Middle by a high number of flagged classrooms. 
Principal Karen Riggins-Taylor failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs. 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


54 


9.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


34 


5 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


18(13) 


3(2) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


8.4 


3.2 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


26 


3.7 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.2 


3.0 



276 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 




Stiuidsinl 




Test 


Dcvintion 


dKU win 


d ulS 
O x\_L' 


1 v. 31 ooiOJj 


dKUWIN 


M A 
IVl/v. 


1 f, 71QT1 1 77 




6 RD 


9. fn(\9S\A.\9.\ 


CI IT ■PT7PPFTJ 


6 MA 




DAVIS 


6 RD 




DAVIS 


6 LA 


d 4f.74I 5471 ^ 


T» A \/TV 
UAV 1^ 


A M A 


Li. 11 /UJ-'JJ 




A TJT) 

O lSXJ 






6 MA 


7 SHI 7174fi7 




7 RD 


3.569289253 


RAT T RTVTCFT? 


7 RD 




RAT T RTVNFR 


7 LA 


4 7841 16263 


RAT T RTVTxJVR 

Ljl .1.1. X\_l V 1 \ IY 


7 MA 


O.J AWU/JUVJ / 


CI AY 


7 MA 


5 4011343 52 


T F ON A R D 


TLA 


4.783422885 


T FfWATCTI 
1 ,VA JV\ r\i\\J 


7 MA 


1 S 043 H 1 674 


T74fj[Vf A<s 


7 MA 


15.43576822 


RAYNKS 


8 RD 


3.403346392 


BL-'UR 


8 RD 


3.526341592 


131 AIR 


8 MA 


16.55822821 


CARR 


8 RD 


5.197767678 


CARR 


8 MA 


4.679822562 


CHAPMAN 


8 RD 


4.738508K21 


CHAPMAN 


8 LA 


3.193839303 


CHAPMAN 


S MA 


5.173015929 


CRAWFORD 


8 RD 


4.004065578 


CRAWFORD 


8 MA 


14.15098834 


MUKONO 


8 MA 


5.567967465 


NUNN 


8 RD 


9.979282261 


NUNN 


8 MA 


9.18464465 


SAWYER 


8 RD 


8.23781398 


SAWYER 


8 MA 


4.527173489 


SMITH 


8 RD 


5.850408204 


SMITH 


8 MA 


5.219466222 



m. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several facts which point to the conclusion that Turner Middle School was not 
managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 54% for the 2009 CRCT. With state 
monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped significantly from 54% 
to 9.3%. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only four had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than Turner Middle School. 

Third, of the 34 flagged classrooms at Turner Middle School, 22 (63% of the total) had 
standard deviations that exceeded five, and eight classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. 
At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 



277 



mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Turner Middle School. 

Fourth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures 85% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 54% of the total 
classrooms in the school. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Mary Gordon (Teacher) 

Mary Gordon taught at Turner Middle School in 2009 and now teaches at Benjamin 
Carson. Gordon was given the common assessment test and an answer sheet one year and told to 
administer the test. She refiised to administer the tests and when she told her supervisors about 
the incident later, she was told that she misunderstood. She was told the assessment and 
accompanying answer sheet were meant to be "teaching tools," but Gordon said it was clear she 
was supposed to cheat. She was later placed on a PDP. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

/. Karen Riggins-Taylor ( Principal) 

Principal Riggins-Taylor denied cheating but did not have an alternate explanation for the 
unusually high number of wrong-to-right erasures. She stated that she always made a point not 
to go into the halls or the classrooms during testing. She stayed in the main office. She did not 
have an explanation for why this was her practice. 

D. Other Ev i dence 

OIR investigated allegations of cheating at Turner in the spring of 2009. An anonymous 
complainant alleged that Principal Riggins-Taylor and other teachers cheated on the 2009 writing 
test. He or she also alleged that Principal Riggins-Taylor organized a group of teachers to cheat 
on the 2009 CRCT. 

APS hired Stan Williams to investigate the allegations. Williams found that the claims 
were unsubstantiated. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

From all of the above, we believe that there is no other rational conclusion but that there 
was widespread cheating at Turner Middle School on the 2009 CRCT and that the principal 
should have known of this. 

Principal Riggins-Taylor failed in her ultimate responsibility for testing activities and for 
ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security for the 2009 CRCT. It is our 
conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in the investigation that 
Principal Karen Riggins-Taylor failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately 
supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, 



278 



falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



279 



WHITE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1 890 Detroit Avenue Principal: Tamarah Larkin-Currie SRT- 4 Executive Director: Taraara Cotnian 

AtlaDta, Georgia 30314 Testing Coordinator: Kevin Wright 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at White Elementary in 2009. Twenty-nine people were 
interviewed at this school, some more than once. Cheating at White is evidenced by a. high 
number of flagged classrooms. Principal Tamarah Larkin-Currie failed to properly monitor the 
2009 CRCT. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 



A. 2009 vs 2010 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


47.4 


22 9 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


27 


11 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


14(11) 


8(3) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


6.8 


4.2 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


18.8 


5.7 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


3.2 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grade & 


Standard 




Test 


Deviation 


ANDREWS 


1 LA 


3.093352558 


ANDREWS 


1 MA 


13.31846401 


DICKENS 


I LA 


4,305045861 


DICKENS 


I MA 


6.582281814 


WRIGHT 


2 MA 


5.396188472 


GILBERT JACKSON 


2 MA 


3.095028739 


HOWARD 


3RD 


5.696759054 


HOWARD 


3 MA 


7.216407716 


MOMON 


3 I'D 


18 77228641 


MOMON 


3 MA 


10.22071 985 


YOUNGINER 


3RD 


4.019487408 


YOUNGINER 


3 MA 


12.2710999 


BLOUNT 


4 RD 


9.625215713 


BLOUNT 


4 MA 


4.500538231 


NEGUSSE 


4RD 


4.109736232 


NEGUS SE 


4 MA 


3.156223239 


BARRETT 


5 RD 


3.761841042 


BARRETT 


5 MA 


4. (X) 108088 


CARVIL 


5 MA 


10.32101268 


CONYERS 


5 RD 


9.50849652 


CONYERS 


5 MA 


5.544520999 


DONDELL 


5 RD 


10.30434773 


DONDELL 


5 LA 


3.400448928 ' 


DONDELL 


5 MA 


5.161987619 


EDWARDS 


5 RD 


8.182077833 


EDWARDS 


5 LA 


458897914 


EDWARDS 


5 MA 


3.727487447 



280 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 



There are several facts which point to the conclusion that White Elementary School was 
not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 47.4% for the 2009 CRCT. There were 
only 23 schools in APS with a higher percentage in 2009. 

Second, of the approximately 1,800 non-APS schools in the state taking the 2009 CRCT, 
only six had a higher percentage of flagged classrooms than White Elementary School. 

Third, with state monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped 
significantly from 47.4% to 22.9%. 

Fourth, of the 27 flagged classrooms at White Elementary School, 15 (55.6% of the total) 
had standard deviations that exceeded five, and six classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. 
At five standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at White 
Elementary School. 

Fifth is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at White, 77% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 47.4% 
of the total classrooms in the school. 

Sixth, Kevin Wright, the Instructional Liaison Specialist at White Elementary during the 
2009 CRCT, stated only Principal Larkin-Currie had both keys to her office and the conference 
room within her office where CRCT materials were stored when not being used for testing. She 
thus had sole access to the stored tests at White. 

Last, Larkin-Currie stated in her February 2, 2011, interview that she believed students 
were responsible for the erasures. She further stated she had no knowledge or belief of how 
cheating could have occurred at White Elementary. In her May 10, 2010, interview by KPMG 
representatives as a part of the Blue Ribbon Commission investigation, she stated as a fact that 
no teacher would cheat. It is apparent Larkin-Currie was out of touch with what was going on in 
her school. 

TV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

Principal Tamarah Larkin-Currie failed in her ultimate responsibility for testing activities 
and for ensuring the ethical administration of and proper security for the 2009 CRCT. It is our 
conclusion from the statistical data and the other evidence secured in this investigation that 
Principal Tamarah Larkin-Currie failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, and adequately 
supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, 
falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia 
Department of Education. 



281 



HARPER ARCHER MIDDLE SCHOOL 



130 Trinity Avenue SW Principal; Michael Milstead SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Caiman 

AllmUa, GA 30303-3626 Tutting Coordinator; Mary Brooks 

T. mVESTTGATfVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Harper Archer Middle in 2009. Fifty-two people 
were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Although no one confessed, the teachers, 
almost unanimously, agree that cheating occurred. Cheating at Harper Archer is evidenced by 
witness testimony. 



H. STATISTICAL DATA 

A. 2009 vs. 2010 





im 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


24.] 


0.7 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


34 




Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


26(4) 


1(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from Stale Norm 


15.8 


3.2 


1 ligh Flagged Standard Deviation 


34.7 


3.2 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.8 


3.2 



282 



B. Flagged Classrooms 



Teacher 


Grndc& 
Teat 


Standard Deviation 


AXTEL 


6 MA 


12,03118873 


BOWERS 


6 MA 


28.16160923 


BROWN 


6RD 


5.320535643 


BROWN 


6 LA 


3.778722147 


BROWN 


6 MA 


200207102 


DEEPNARIN 


6RD 


22.62421034 


DEEPNARIN 


6 LA 


13.33491863 


DEEPNARIN 


6 MA 


27,13603784 


GOODWIN 


6 MA 


22.48896968 


KOEN 


6 MA 


5.451050354 


MOB LEY 


6 MA 


26.91451486 


STARR 


6 MA 


7.484407902 


WILLIAMS 


6 MA 


8.80465121 


GLENN 


7 MA 


13.4282406 


JONES 


7 MA 


9.893280264 


LESLIE 


7RD 


9.878794894 


LESLIE 


7 LA 


6.430200754 


LESLIE 


7 MA 


21.61988291 


MAY 


7 MA 


17.85009224 


MILLS 


7 MA 


13 79356918 


PRESIDENT 


7 RD 


5.744667327 


WILLARD 


7 MA 


15.84628142 


BROWN 


8 MA 


14.89348894 


DEEPNARAIN 


8 MA 


4,582951024 


JONES. N 


8 MA 


13.69397201 


JONES, T 


8 RD 


34.6715554 


JONES. T 


8 LA 


19.66876267 


JONES, T 


8 MA 


15.76473105 


LEFTWICH 


8 MA 


21.15254429 


LOVK'LT 


8 MA 


19.63901724 


MILLEDGE 


8 MA 


13.31518156 


PURNELL 


8 MA 


19.39589402 


STALLWORTH 


8 MA 


13.84211581 


SYPHERTP 


8 MA 


29.48081698 



IIL SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Overview 

There are several significant facts which point to the conclusion that Harper Archer 
Middle School was not managed to ensure that the 2009 CRCT results were accurately reported. 

First, the percentage of flagged classrooms is 24.1% for the 2009 CRCT. With state 
monitors present in 2010, the percentage of flagged classrooms dropped significantly from 
24.1% to 0.7%. 

Second, of the 34 flagged classrooms at Harper Archer 32 (94% of the total) had standard 
deviations that exceeded five, and 24 classrooms exceeded ten standard deviations. At five 
standard deviations, the probability that the number of erasures occurred without adult 
intervention, or cheating, is no better than one in a million. At ten standard deviations the 
probability is no better than one in a trillion. This signifies that the deviations from the state 
mean were, for a number of classrooms, a strong indication of cheating on a broad scale at 
Harper Archer. 



283 



Third is the individual student wrong-to-right (WTR) erasure analysis. Of the WTR 
erasures at Harper Archer 69% were produced by the flagged classrooms which account for only 
24. 1% of the total classrooms in the school. 

Finally, the majority of the teachers interviewed believed cheating occurred. The 
teachers' consensus is the administrators and SRT-4 personnel cheated. The teachers also 
believe that Principal Milstead left Harper Archer because SRT-4 Executive Director Tamara 
Cotman wanted him to cheat and he refused. 

B. Narrative 

Harper Archer Middle School has historically struggled in math. Low math scores and a 
20% special education population prevented Harper Archer from making AYP year after year. 
Harper Archer had not made AYP for at least the last three years and was on the State's Needs 
Improvement List in the 2008-2009 school year. Tamara Cotman, whose office was located in 
the same building as Harper Archer, put pressure on Principal Michael Milstead and the math 
coaches (Barbara Bienemy and Arn St. Cyr) to improve math scores and make AYP. Cotman 
put Principal Milstead on a PDP. Milstead said he understood that if Harper Archer did not 
make AYP in 2009, he would be fired. Cotman made it clear to Milstead that the key to staying 
employed by APS was to make AYP "by any means necessary." 

Principal Milstead believed that Cotman was more interested in the test scores than the 
students. Principal Milstead refused to pressure teachers about scores. He explicitly instructed 
teachers they were not to do anything unethical. Under Milstead, the school made steady, but 
incremental improvements. In early 2009, prior to the CRCT, Principal Milstead announced that 
he was leaving APS at the end of the school year because of differences with the administration. 
Although he did not specifically name Cotman, the teachers knew that she constantly threatened 
Milstead with his job if the school did not make AYP. The teachers and staff suspected that 
Cotman fired Milstead because he refused to cheat to get scores up. 

Milstead expressed his concern at a principals' meeting that too many students arrived at 
Harper Archer from the "feeder" elementary schools with exemplary CRCT scores, but these 
students were several grade levels behind. Milstead suggested that the elementary and middle 
school principals work together more and share information to address this problem. This 
meeting occurred in May 2008. In August of 2008, Cotman met with Milstead and told him that 
the principals were very upset about his comments. Cotman was angry and gave Milstead a 
verbal reprimand. Later, she told him she would not be renewing his contract. Milstead resigned 
instead. 

Teachers were shocked at the large jumps in math scores on the 2009 CRCT. Many 
teachers discussed that the math scores could not be legitimate. They knew their students could 
not have scored so well. Teachers described a Special Education math student who could not use 
a calculator, but exceeded on the CRCT. Students who could not read passed the CRCT. One 
teacher reported that one of her students slept through the entire test, but still passed 

Teachers were not surprised to learn that Harper Archer was flagged and that 25 of the 34 
flagged classes were math classes. Virtually every teacher at Harper Archer believed that 



284 



cheating occurred. Not one teacher believed that Principal Milstead was involved in cheating. 
Teachers uniformly pointed to administrators and SRT-4 personnel who had access to the tests. 
The individuals on the testing team with access to the tests included: Testing Coordinator Mary 
Brooks ELS Sharon Green, Special Education Director Tanya Woods, math coaches Barbara 
Bienemy and Am St. Cyr, and SRT-4' s Model Teacher Leader, Diamond Jack. Principal 
Milstead and his secretary, Ms. Westbrooks, and certain SRT-4 personnel, including Tamara 
Cotman, had access to the vault where the tests were stored. 

The day after the math portion of the test was given in 2009, the custodian, Joie Phillips, 
went to the SRT-4 office to change out a water cooler when he heard some of the SRT-4 staff 
discussing that the students were "doing good on the test." Mr. Phillips shared this information 
with some of the teachers. 

C. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Michael Milstead {Principal) 

Principal Milstead worked at Harper Archer Middle School from 2006 to 2009. Tamara 
Cotman placed Milstead on a PDP two out of the three years he was employed at Harper Archer 
because the school did not make AYP targets. Even though the school showed growth, because 
they did not make AYP or targets, Milstead scored below expectations on his evaluations. Mr. 
Milstead attributes the challenges at Harper Archer to a 20% special education population. The 
state average is approximately 7-8%. The school also historically struggled in math and science, 
but showed progress over the years he served as principal. Milstead believed his math teachers 
worked hard and spent a lot of time tutoring students and developing strategies to assist them. 
Cotman made it clear on several occasions that Milstead would be without a job if the school did 
not make AYP. Cotman did not want Harper Archer in the "needs improvement" category 
again. Principal Milstead understood Cotman wanted him to make AYP "by any means 
necessary." It was clear to Principal Milstead that Cotman' s primary concern was test scores, 
not the students. 

Principal Milstead resigned from APS in 2009 after Cotman told him she would not be 
renewing his contract. Milstead believes that Cotman did this because of comments he made at a 
principals' meeting in May 2008. During that meeting, the principals were talking about the 
CRCT. Milstead expressed that a lot of students arriving at Harper Archer from the elementary 
schools showed exemplary CRCT scores from fifth grade, yet were multiple grade levels behind 
academically. Milstead expressed his desire that the principals work together and share 
information to eliminate this problem. In August of 2008, Cotman told him the principals were 
very upset about what he said at the meeting. One principal wanted Cotman to do something 
about his remarks. Cotman was angry with Milstead and gave him a verbal reprimand. 

When the 2009 CRCT scores were published, Principal Milstead was astonished by how 
well the eighth grade students had performed as a whole, but particularly by the double-digit 
jump in math scores. Milstead had been in administration for a decade and had never seen 
double-digit gains in one subject area. 



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Mil stead could not explain the high number of erasures. Cheating could not have 
occurred during the school day without him knowing about it. Only those with keys and access 
to the tests could be responsible. The tests were stored in a vault in one of the hallways. 
Milstead, and his secretary, Selitha Westbrook, had a key. Testing Coordinator Mary Brooks 
either had a key as well or she used Ms. Westbrook' s key. Principal Milstead assumed Cotman 
also had a key to the vault Cotman had access to the building as well, as did some of her SRT-4 
employees. On some mornings, Principal Milstead reported to school early and the model 
teacher leaders from Cotman 's office were already there. One of the SRT-4 employees was 
Model Teacher Leader Diamond Jack. She was very close with Executive Director Cotman and 
was "not a friend of Harper Archer." SRO Campbell and 1LS Green were also close to Cotman. 

Principal Milstead did not remember anyone staying late the week of testing and added 
that he tried to get everyone out of the school when testing was over. No one should have been 
in the building during the weekend after testing. Principal Milstead was surprised at the length 
of time the test documents remained in the school when testing was over. 

During the 2008-2009 school year, Milstead noticed that more SRT employees were 
present during the week of testing than in years past. Typically only one SRT-4 representative 
would be at the school, but that year there were two or three additional SRT employees at the 
school. 

2. Lebroyce Sub Lett (Assistant Principal) 

Lebroyce Sublet* served as the assistant principal at Harper Archer beginning in 2006- 
2007. Sublett said Principal Milstead left Harper Archer because he was forced out by Cotman, 
who wanted higher CRCT scores to meet AYP and APS targets. It was implied at APS that if 
you did not make targets, you would lose your job, and he saw this happen to others. Sublett and 
Principal Milstead were both put on a PDP by Cotman because of the performance of the school. 
Sublett and Principal Milstead refused to do anything unethical, but after being put on a PDP 
repeatedly, Mlstead began looking for a new job. Cotman wanted Milstead to put teachers on a 
PDP. Principal Milstead was told that if he would not put the teachers on PDP he would be put 
on one himself. Sublett knew that PDPs were used to get rid of teachers who did not "fit the 
mold." Milstead refused. 

Cotman encouraged Principal Milstead and Assistant Principal Sublett to visit Parks 
Middle School, to see what Parks was doing "right." They visited Parks, and were not surprised 
that they saw nothing extraordinary going on. They believed Parks' scores were achieved by 
cheating. 

Sublett suspects the SRT and model teacher leaders are responsible for the erasures that 
occurred at Harper Archer. SRT employees had access to the building and the secure storage 
area. 

3. Deborah Mills (Special Education Teacher) 

Deborah Mills was surprised at the high number of WTR erasures on the CRCT at Harper 
Archer. She did not recall any excessive erasing during the testing for her special education 
students. She did hear regular education teachers discussing that they were surprised by the 



286 



results for the math section of the CRCT. Mills believed it was clear something happened with 
regard to the math portion of the CRCT and states that APS created a culture where testing was 
"do or die." 

4. Renee Goodwin (Teacher) 

Renee Goodwin has been a teacher at Harper Archer since 2005. Goodwin reported that 
she was shocked that her classroom was flagged and wondered what happened. The math scores 
in 2008-2009 increased significantly and the increase was not consistent with the work that 
students did throughout the year. There were students that passed or exceeded that should not 
have passed according to projections by the teachers. 

The teachers at Harper Archer provided a projection list to the administration, referred to 
as "bubble list " This list projected how each student in each class would perform on the CRCT. 

5. Robin Glenn (Teacher) 

Robin Glenn was a teacher at Harper Archer from 2006 until January 201 1 when she was 
transferred to Perkerson Elementary. Harper Archer always struggled in math. The students at 
Harper Archer could barely do their multiplication tables. When Glenn saw the 2009 CRCT 
scores, she was shocked. Some special education students scored higher than gifted students in 
math. Glenn does not believe that teachers or administrators changed the students' tests. 

6. Brandy Williams (Teacher) 

Brandy Williams began working at Harper Archer during the 2008-2009 school year. 
Williams was surprised by several students in her class who passed the CRCT. She described 
one student in particular that failed in class all year, but passed the CRCT. Williams recalls 
providing a projection sheet of how she expected her students to perform on the CRCT to ILS 
Green, Principal Milstead and possibly the math coach, Arn St. Cyr. 

Williams denied erasing anything on her students' tests or doing anything to trigger her 
students to erase. Cotman and Principal Milstead pressured Green and St. Cyr with regard to 
improving math scores. During content meetings, Green and St. Cyr would give the faculty a 
hard time about improving math scores as well. 

Williams left immediately after school during testing, but recalled that Green, as well as 
the other instructional coaches, worked late. 

Principal Milstead put Williams on a PDP for low test scores after her first year at Haiper 
Archer because Cotman instructed him to do so. 

7. Sheena Simmons (Teacher) 

Sheena Simmons arrived at Harper Archer in 2008 under the Teach for America program, 
During the time she was employed at Harper Archer there were four different principals assigned 
to the school. She described the climate at Harper Archer as a negative atmosphere. She felt that 
the teachers were "setup" because of all the change and instability among the administration. 



287 



Mr Milstead was the principal in 2008-2009, but left because he had one idea of what 
was best for the students and other people had different ideas. Simmons did not believe that 
Principal Milstead would cheat or erase answers on students' tests. Cotman told the principals 
that they needed to make AYP "by any means necessary" Principal Milstead stressed that 
teachers should not do anything they felt would be wrong. 

When confronted with the erasure analysis, Simmons was suspicious of the amount of 
erasures from wrong to right. Simmons was concerned that 36 questions were erased from 
wrong to right. 

8. Malika Svvhert (Teacher) 

Malika Syphert administered the CRCT in 2009. She placed her students in alphabetical 
order in rows. After administering the test, she picked up the tests in alphabetical order and 
returned them in that fashion. Sometimes the testing documents would no longer be in 
alphabetical order when she picked them up the next day. Syphert said this could have been 
because of the makeup tests, which were administered by Testing Coordinator Brooks. 

Syphert recalled conversations among teachers about former principal Michael Milstead 
refusing to cheat resulting in Cotman asking him to leave. Cotman was considered an 
authoritarian and a dictator. Frances Thompson replaced Principal Milstead. Cotman and 
Thompson were close. 

When the teachers received the 2009 CRCT results, they did not want to share them with 
the students. The math teachers believed the math scores were inflated. Two teachers expressed 
their concerns about these math scores to St. Cyr and Bienemy, the math coaches. 

Syphert was not surprised when Harper Archer was flagged because of the inflated math 

scores. 

9. Kelli Koen (Teacher) 

Kelli Koen denied knowledge of, or participation in, cheating. She did not see any 
students erasing excessively during testing and said she would have noticed if students had 
erased excessively. When she learned Harper Archer was one of the flagged schools, she 
discussed this with Brandy Williams, and other math teachers. There was discussion among the 
teachers that Green, who had a math background, and Tanya Woods were responsible for the 
erasures. 

Koen believed something was happening with CRCT documents when teacher Matthew 
Leftwich's students' test scores came in. All of his students passed, with large gains in math 
scores. Koen knew those students could not have performed on that level. 

Principal Milstead wanted the school to make targets during the 2008-2009 school year, 
but never threatened to place teachers on a PDP. However, Principal Frances Thompson told the 
teachers that they could be placed on a PDP for low test scores. 



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10. Roshanda May (Teacher) 



Roshanda May believes there was cheating, but denied that she was involved. Cotman 
and Green would have access to the tests. Cotman pressured Principal Milstead to improve the 
test scores, which is why he left after the 2008-2009 school year. 

11. Nautrie Jones (Teacher) 

Principal Milstead resigned prior to the 2009 tests being given. He told the faculty he 
had resigned and said that everyone had certain goals they were trying to achieve, but he had 
different ideas about how to reach them. When the 2009 CRCT scores came back, Nautrie Jones 
and other teachers on her grade level team were all very upset because they knew their students 
had not legitimately achieved their scores. Teachers at Harper Archer were not involved. She 
believed people on the SRT level, including the model teacher leaders, were involved. 

12. Andrea Leslie (Special Education Teacher) 

Andrea Leslie said that the high number of erasures in all three of her special education 
classrooms could only occur by someone erasing and changing her students' answers. Leslie 
named Green, Brooks, and the math coaches, Jack, St. Cyr and another math coach, as having 
access to the tests. The SRT-4 staff and model teacher leaders also had access to the tests and 
testing materials. Leslie denied cheating. 

Ms. Leslie recalled there was a student in her class who had on headphones and a hood 
during the 2009 CRCT. Coach Gibson took this student out of the classroom, talked with him, 
and brought him back. That student had very high WTR erasures. 

She recalled a student who could not read or even write her name. This student had 
substantial WTR erasures on the math section of her test. 

13. Harold Love ft (Teacher) 

Harold Lovett's eighth graders read on a fourth to fifth grade level on the 2009 CRCT. 
He noticed that seals were broken on one or two of the CRCT booklets. He never reported this 
to anyone because he thought a student had possibly done it. Lovett explained the high number 
of erasures in his classroom as someone other than himself changing answers and altering tests. 

14. Jerry Willard (Teacher) 

Jerry Willard said Green had both key card and alarm code access to the building. 
Willard arrived at school around 6:30 a.m. each morning. He would have to wait to be let into 
the building by Green, who used her key card and alarm code to access the building. 

Willard believed Principal Milstead left because he would not do something that Cotman 
asked him to do with regard to the CRCT. 



289 



15. Elbert Edwards (Teacher) 

Elbert Edwards believed cheating occurred at Harper Archer. He did not believe Testing 
Coordinator Mary Brooks was involved in changing any answers. He described Brooks as a 
"stickler" about procedure. Edwards routinely worked late and sometimes did not leave until 
8:00 p.m. SRT-4 personnel would still be in the building. Edwards suspected these SRT 
employees, especially Cotman, altered students' tests. He did not suspect Assistant Principal 
Sublett or Principal Milstead of anything unethical. 

16. Sheila Brown (Teacher) 

During the 2009 CRCT, one of the janitors, Joie Phillips, approached Sheila Brown the 
day after the math section of the CRCT was given to the students. Phillips said that the students 
had done well on the CRCT. Brown asked Phillips how he knew that since there was no way 
anyone should already know how the students had performed, Phillips told Brown that he 
overheard some SRT-4 employees talking about it. 

Brown denied doing anything to prompt her students to change answers. Brown did not 
notice her students erasing excessively during the test. 

Brown was not shocked when she found out that Harper Archer was one of the flagged 
schools. Teachers complained about students who passed the CRCT that year who should never 
have passed the examination. 

Brown recalled one specific student in her class who was a special education student, but 
exceeded on the math section of the CRCT. This student could not read. 

There was discussion that the SRT-4 model teacher leaders and Cotman erased answers 
on the tests. Brown does not believe that St. Cyr would cheat, but Green and Testing 
Coordinator Brooks were very close. Green often worked late at the school. 

17. Alana Allen (Teacher) 

Alana Allen reported that she was surprised by the high 2009 CRCT scores of other 
teachers. Allen recalled several students who she did not feel could pass the CRCT, including 
one special education student, but who exceeded standards on the CRCT. The special education 
students' scores were higher than some of the students who were known to perform well on the 
test. One of the math teachers, Mr. Leftwich, complained that one of his students fell asleep 
during testing, yet he achieved very high test scores. Leftwich could not understand how this 
could happen. 

Allen and Leftwich knew something was wrong with the test scores when they assessed 
the eighth grade math test scores at the school. Allen taught the students at Harper Archer who 
were the lowest performing students in the eighth grade. Students on Leftwich' s team scored 
similarly to Allen's students on benchmark tests, but on the CRCT performed exceptionally well. 

Harper Archer teachers believe that the SRT-4 employees, including SRT Executive 
Director Tamara Cotman, were responsible for the erasures. It was obvious to the teachers that 



290 



something had gone wrong. Cotman said that the students in the school had to pass the test or 
the school was going to close and no one would have a job. Allen and other teachers at the 
school believed Principal Milstead was forced to resign because he would not do the things that 
Cotman wanted him to do. 

18. Katie Reichenbach (Teacher) 

When the spring 2009 CRCT scores were announced, many of the teachers were 
surprised at the scores and concerned that somebody within Harper Archer's administration 
cheated. Teachers acknowledged that the math scores were "not real." Reichenbach believed 
1LS Sharon Green was under a lot of pressure to improve scores. Green said that they needed to 
get the test scores up so "these people [SRT-4] will get off of our backs " 

Reichenbach believed that Principal Milstead was forced out because Tamara Cotman 
wanted him to cheat and he refused. 

19. ShategUQ Yates (Teacher) 

Shanequa Yates recalled that when the 2009 CRCT scores came in everyone at the school 
was thrilled. However, when they looked over the test scores, something was not right. The 
scores for many of the students did not match up with what the teachers knew about them. Yates 
and her co-workers talked about their shock at the scores. All of the eighth grade teachers 
believed that Cotman and the SRT-4 model teacher leaders were responsible for the erasures. 

20. Matthew Leftwich (Teacher) 

Matthew Leftwich recalled that the teachers were excited when they first heard about the 
percentage of students who had passed the CRCT in the 2008-2009 school year. But when the 
teachers looked at individual student scores, the excitement disappeared. Leftwich knew that 
some of the students could not have scored as high as they had in math. Leftwich and the other 
teachers at Harper Archer knew someone altered the tests. 

When the erasure analysis came out, Leftwich recalled APS employees saying students 
just erased a lot, especially at the middle school level. Leftwich never saw his students erasing. 
On average, any given student would erase less than four times per section on a standardized test 
like the CRCT. 

The teachers believed the SRT employees were responsible for the erasures. Leftwich 
heard that some of the SRT-4 employees were overheard talking about how well the students 
performed on the math section of the CRCT before anyone knew how students actually 
performed. 

21. Joie Phillips (Custodian) 

Joie Phillips said ILS Sharon Green was the "boss" of Harper Archer and tried to run it as 
if she was in charge of Principal Milstead. Green did not report to work early, but often stayed 
late after school. 



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While changing a water jug in the SRT-4 office, Phillips overheard one female worker 
say that the students at Harper Archer were "doing good" on the CRCT. This comment was 
made during the week of testing. Phillips did not know who made the comment. Phillips told a 
couple of the teachers on the eighth grade hall. He believes one of those teachers was Sheila 
Brown. 

22. Tatia Mobley (Teacher) 

Tatia Mobley said that one day after the 2009 CRCT test, math coach Barbara Bienemy 
came to Leon Bowers' classroom and said he did a great job. Bienemy stated, "Your kids did so 
good in math." This occurred prior to the results of the CRCT tests being published to the 
teachers. When the CRCT results came out, the teachers felt that something was not right with 
the test scores. Mobley recalled that some students on her team slept during the CRCT, yet 
passed the test. Mobley recalled another student in her class who could not read, but passed the 
CRCT. 

Mobley feels her students were cheated. Mobley said she did not cheat and did not 
prompt her students to change their answers. 

23. Am St. Cw (Math Coach) 

During the administration of the 2009 CRCT, Arn St. Cyr assisted ILS Sharon Green and 
Testing Coordinator Brooks with sorting and preparing the test materials for the teachers. He 
also administered the CRCT make-up examination in the media center. The tests were stored in 
the school vault. Only Principal Milstead and his secretary, Ms. Westbrook, had a key to the 
vault, St. Cyr believed Cotman had a key to the vault as well. 

When the Harper Archer test scores came out, St. Cyr recalled Bienemy saying that the 
math scores were unusually high. The percentage of students meeting standards on the math 
section on the CRCT had jumped to around 50%. St. Cyr believed this was impossible. 
Principal Milstead was also suspicious of the scores, but he had already been forced to resign at 
the time the scores came in. St. Cyr believed that Principal Milstead had not improved CRCT 
scores quickly enough for Cotman, so she refused to renew his contract. Principal Milstead 
expressed to St. Cyr that he had not moved the school at the pace Cotman had expected. 

St. Cyr said the Special Education sub-group and the math scores prevented Harper 
Archer from making AYP. St. Cyr expressed his desire for the cheating to end. According to 
him, the number of erasures at Harper Archer was "statistically impossible. Not improbable, but 
impossible." 

24. Travis Jones (Special Education Teacher) 

Travis Jones denied he prompted his students during testing or erased any of his students' 
answers. Jones believed that SRT-4 employees had something to do with the erasures. 
According to Jones, if an employee had integrity, Cotman would get rid of them. If employees 
did not fit Cotman' s mold, she would find a way to get rid of them. Cotman was often seen with 
Special Education teacher Woods, ILS Sharon Green, SRO Veronica Campbell, and the 



292 



counselors. Jones did not believe that Principal Milstead would have had anything to do with 
cheating. He did not think the teachers had anything to do with cheating. 

25. Barbara Bienemy (Math Coach) 

When Barbara Bienemy arrived at Harper Archer in February 2009, she immediately 
noticed that students lacked basic math skills such as adding, subtracting, multiplying and 
dividing, and the students were multiple grade levels behind. Based on the trend data, math and 
the special education population always prevented Harper Archer from making AYP. Bienemy 
believed that whoever was responsible for erasures had to be good in math and have access to the 
tests. Testing Coordinator Brooks and ILS Green were close, both were good in math, and both 
had access to the tests. 

D. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Mary Brooks (Testing Coordinator) 

Mary Brooks has worked at Harper Archer since 2006, when she was transferred from 
Turner Middle School by Executive Director Tamara Cotman. Brooks claimed that Principal 
Milstead did not speak with her and that she was not treated as fairly as her male counterparts. 
She described Milstead as a male chauvinist, although she had no knowledge of Milstead treating 
other females on the staff any differently. Nonetheless, Brooks admitted that Milstead did a 
"wonderful" job turning around Harper Archer, and he did a lot for the students. 

Brooks denied any knowledge of cheating or participation in cheating. She did not 
suspect any teachers of cheating or assisting students on the CRCT. Brooks could not explain 
the high number of wrong-to-right erasures and did not know when they occurred. The testing 
team during the 2009 CRCT consisted of Jacquelyn King, Tanya Woods, math coaches St. Cyr 
and Bienemy, and ILS Green. Brooks stored the testing materials in crates in the school vault 
overnight. She obtained the key to the vault from the school secretary, Ms. Westbrooks, and 
only had access to the vault during the testing week and following make up days. Brooks denied 
having unrestricted access to the school. Because SRT-4 is housed in the same building as 
Harper Archer, SRT-4 staff had their own entrance and could enter the Harper Archer school 
building from downstairs. During testing week, certain individuals from the central office came 
to Harper Archer, but she could only recall Lester McKee's name from APS's Research Planning 
and Assessment division. Model teacher leaders Diamond Jack and Tracey Colston were also 
present from SRT-4. 

2. Sharon Green (ILS) 

Green currently serves as the math and science instructional coach at Harper Archer. 

During the 2008-2009 CRCT Mary Brooks served as the Testing Coordinator at Harper 
Archer. Jacquelyn King, the Success for All coach, St. Cyr, Bienemy, and Green assisted 
Brooks with testing. Several model teacher leaders from SRT-4 also assisted during testing: 
Diamond Jack, Nikki Stroud, and Tracey Colton. Green denied any knowledge of how the 
wrong-to -right erasures occurred. She was aware that Harper Archer struggled in multiple areas, 
but mostly math. Special education held Harper Archer back from attaining AYP. Green 



293 



acknowledged she did have key card access to the school but that the school had an alarm and 
the Principal and Assistant Principal had those codes, SRT personnel could also access Harper 
Archer from downstairs where the SRT office was located. Green had a close relationship with 
Brooks, and the instructional coaches. 

E. Other Evidence 

• The percentage of classes flagged for high WTR erasures dropped from 
24.1% in 2009 to .7% in 2010. 

• Correspondingly, the percentage of sixth grade students who met or 
exceeded standards in math dropped from 68% in 2009 to 34% in 2010, 
while the percentage of students who failed math skyrocketed from 32% 
in 2009 to 67% in 2010. 

• The percentage of eighth grade math students who exceeded standards on 
the CRCT dropped from 31% in 2009 to 4% in 2010. Correspondingly, 
the percentage of students who failed increased from 18% to 33% in 2010. 

• Some of the students identified by teachers as students who should not 
have passed the CRCT, who slept through the test, or who could not read, 
had the highest numbers of wrong-to-right erasures. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that cheating occurred at Harper Archer through the erasing and changing 
of student answers. The statistical data from the erasure analysis, student data, and a review of 
score drops in 2010 reveal patterns similar to those seen in schools where teachers or 
administrators confessed to erasing and changing answers. We cannot conclude who erased and 
changed the students' answers at Harper Archer. ILS Green, Testing Coordinator Brooks and 
SRT-4 personnel, including Model Teacher Leaders Diamond Jack and Tamara Cotman, had 
access to the tests. Almost unanimously, the teachers pointed to Green, Brooks and the SRT-4 
personnel. 

Virtually every teacher acknowledged that someone altered the answers on the students' 
tests, particularly in math. It is well known that Harper Archer struggled in math and special 
education. Only math and special education classes were flagged. Green has a math 
background, and Diamond Jack is the Model Teacher Leader for math. Cotman put incredible 
pressure on Mil stead and Green to get the scores up and meet AYP, and Green feared she would 
lose her job if the scores in math did not improve. Green had a close relationship with Testing 
Coordinator Brooks, who had access to the tests. According to Mil stead, Cotman non-renewed 
him after he suggested in a principals' meeting that students' CRCT scores from elementary 
school did not reflect their academic abilities in the classroom. Cotman made it clear that 
Milstead should improve student scores by any means necessary. 

Student data also indicated that someone in administration or SRT-4 cheated. Some of 
the lowest performing students had the highest number of erasures and achieved the highest 



294 



scores on the test. These low performing students were well known to the administrators, since 
teachers had been required to turn in "projection sheets" listing each student's expected 
performance just a few weeks before the test. Some testimony indicates this was the first time 

administration. 



We conclude that cheating occurred at Harper Archer, but we are unable to determine 
who cheated. We conclude that Principal Mil stead did not cheat, condone cheating, or know of 
cheating. Milstead may have been forced out of his position by Tamara Cotman because of his 
refusal to condone cheating. 



295 



1VA. t % VT1 ^ lit 



:S JONES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1040 Fair Street South Principal: Margul Rctha Woolfolk SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 14 Testing Coordinator: Andrea Johnson Lewis 



T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at M. Agnes Jones Elementary in 2009 and in other 
years. Twenty-five people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Six people 
confessed to cheating on the CRCT. Cheating at M. Agnes Jones is evidenced by confessions 
and witness testimony. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


23.1 


7.8 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


18 


7 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


11(4) 


6(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


5.3 


3.8 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


9.5 


5.6 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


3.1 



Til. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Narrative 

Andrea Lewis was the testing coordinator in 2009. She was assisted by Gwendolyn 
Alston, Sedric Scott, and Petrina Howard. Sedric Scott denied any knowledge of cheating until 
he took and failed a polygraph examination. After failing the polygraph examination, he 
admitted to erasing and changing students' CRCT answer sheets and to prompting students to 
change incorrect answers. 

Several teachers confessed to cheating on the 2009 CRCT, and some described students 
whose skills and abilities did not correspond to their high CRCT scores. Many witnesses heard 
that teachers prompted their students to erase and change answers during the 2009 CRCT, and in 
other years. Curtis Gale, who confessed to prompting students and erasing and changing 
answers on the 2009 CRCT, testified that he feared he would be terminated if his scores did not 
improve. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

I Ann Hill (Teacher) 

Ann Hill testified that the skills and abilities of her second grade students did not match 
their first grade CRCT scores. She heard that Curtis Gale only read two answer choices to his 
first grade students. 



296 



Former Principal Eunice Robinson threatened teachers with PDPs if they failed to raise 
CRCT scores, stating if she were placed on a PDP, teachers would also be placed on PDPs. 

2. Demetrius Barnes (Teacher) 

Demetrius Barnes testified that the skills and abilities of his second grade students did not 
match their first grade CRCT scores. Curtis Gale only read two answer choices to his first grade 
students. 

In 2006, Demetrius Barnes was placed on a team with Corliss Love and Precious Moon. 
When the three were working late, Love and Moon suggested they open the vault and look at 
testing materials. Barnes could not recall if this was during the administration of the CRCT or a 
state writing test. Barnes refused to participate and threatened to "go over the principal's head" 
if anyone looked at the testing materials. 

Love and Moon had copies of the Fifth Grade Writing Test before it was administered. 
Barnes heard that they knew the prompt for the writing test "word for word," well in advance of 
the test. 

After threatening to "go over the principal's head," and report Love and Moon's plan to 
get into the vault, Barnes began receiving poor evaluations and was moved from the upper 
grades to the lower grades. 

3. Haneefa Rasheed (Teacher) 

Haneefa Rasheed testified that the skills and abilities of her second grade students did not 
match their high first grade CRCT scores. 

4. Erica Franklin (Teacher) 

Erica Franklin testified that the skills and abilities of her second grade students did not 
match their high first grade CRCT scores. She heard that Curtis Gale only read two answer 
choices to his first grade students. 

5. Ginneen Smith (Teacher) 

Former Principal Robinson told teachers that if a certain number of students did not pass 
the CRCT, the teachers would be placed on a PDP. Ginneen Smith heard that Curtis Gale only 
read two answer choices to his first grade students. 

6. Chelsea Vines (Teacher) 

Chelsea Vines testified that former Principal Robinson threatened teachers with PDPs if 
they failed to raise CRCT scores, stating if she were placed on a PDP, teachers would also be 
placed on PDPs. She too heard that Curtis Gale only read two answer choices to his first grade 
students. 



297 



Vines heard that Precious Moon instructed her students to mark their CRCT answers in 
the testing booklet and not on the answer sheet This allowed her to check student answers and 
instruct them to change incorrect answers and avoid wrong-to-right erasures. 

7. Ovella Roberts (Teacher) 

On the 2006 UBS test, Sedric Scott told Roberts that she could tell students "something 
was wrong" with a particular question if she noticed they answered it incorrectly. 

Former Principal Robinson told teachers that if a certain number of students did not pass 
the CRCT then the teachers would be placed on a P DP. 

8. Stephanie Englert (Teacher) 

Stephanie Englert admitted to prompting her students to change their answers during the 
administration of the 2009 CRCT. 

Tn 2003, Gwendolyn Alston had a copy of that year's CRCT, and showed it to Englert 
and others, 

During the administration of the 2009 CRCT, a student told Englert that his former 
teacher, Idalina Couto, told students they answered a question incorrectly on the 2008 CRCT by 
"popping them in the head ." 

During the week of CRCT testing in 2009, while Englert was working late, a 
paraprofessional asked if she could borrow some erasers for Judy Walker and Nneka Reynolds. 
Englert reported that it was unusual for Walker and Reynolds to work on anything without her 
because they were teammates. Reynolds rarely worked late, and the fourth grade students 
performed better on the CRCT than she expected in 2009. 

9. Ay ana Townsend (Teacher) 

Ay ana Townsend reported that she did not administer the reading section of the 2009 
CRCT (for which she was flagged) because she was out of town. Several of her students asked 
for help on the 2009 CRCT and acted confused when she did not provide assistance. 

Townsend heard that the first grade teachers cheated on the 2009 CRCT. She also 
testified that the skills and abilities of her fourth grade students did not match their high third 
grade CRCT scores. 

Principal Woolfolk threatened to place teachers on PDPs if their CRCT scores did not 
improve. She had been directed by "her boss" to do so. 

10. Dorris Freeman (Substitute) 

Dorris Freeman administered the 2009 CRCT Reading section to Ayana Townsend 5 s 
students. Freeman had no knowledge of cheating, and stated that she would have no motivation 



298 



to change answers on the 2009 CRCT because she only substituted for Englert for one day of 
testing. 

11. Molina Cou to {Teacher) 

Idali „a Couto admitted to P"^**^ ^ £S ^ £2 
answered the question incorrectly on the 2009 CRCT. bne 
explaining questions that students could not understand. 

Couto said that Curtis Gale pronged his students or on!y read two answer choices when 
administering the CRCT. 

12 Ste phanie Bay lev (Teacher) 

answer sheets. 

13. to Tavern (Teacher). 

Rose Logan admitted to erasing ^student ^^^^^SS 
for a particular question. Logan also adrmtted that she filled , the correct a ^ ^ 

answer sheets when students failed to answer a ques *££££o^ib* she was required 

2009 CRCT. 

C Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

I Precious M nnn (Teacher) 
L»« S a*r s «CT. P M»n she - - — - 

OIR. 

2. Corliss Love (Teacher) 
Corliss Love admitted to prompting students to change their answers on the 2009 CRCT. 
She now realizes her prompting was a testing violation. 

S. Curtis Gale (Teach er), 

. , u„„ hie tfurients to change answers during the 

Curtis Gale a— to pro. nj « MQn . Gale also 

administration of the 2009 CRC 1, ana in ou.c , , , admitted that in 

admitted that he only read two ^d»*K3S S he would scan the tests and erase 
2009 and other years, when his students completed their tests, ne 

and change wrong answers. 



299 



Gale erased and changed answers in the conference room when the test: -were returned 
was focused on his own tests. 

Sores SSl he would lose his job if his CRCT scores did not .mprove. 

4. Se.tiric Scott (Math Coach) 

*Mnc Scott oricinallv denied any knowledge of cheating. After he took and failed a 
Sednc Scott ongmaliy ac n eu y changing answers on students 

K r^Sffi a«y ans-r on a CRCT? Have you ever knowmgly allowed 
anyone to change an answer on the CRCT? 

5 . AnttSzMBSSn. I &k Ml Coordimtari 

Andrea Lewis stated that Gwendolyn Alston, Sedric Scott, and Petrina Howard assisted 

rooms. The tests were sioreu mo p ^ former Principal Robinson 

No teachers picked up their tests early or « J^^™ pZpal Woolfolk would 
allowed teachers to erase stray marks logethei m a conference room, rn P 

Only Principal Woolfolk and her secretary, Kandis Hendrix, had a key to the principal's 



not. 
office. 



6 Marvul Retha Wnnlfnlk (Principal) 

Moon. A copy of that letter is included as Attachment A. 
IV. ANALYSTS OF KVTDENCE 

We conclude that Curtis Gale, Corliss Love, Precious Moon, Sedric Scott, Idalina Couto 
and Rose Logan cheated on the CRCT in 2009 and in other years. 



300 



Based on the statistical evidence and the evidence we have found at schools with similar 
statistical data, we believe that other flagged teachers also cheated, but we lack sufficient 
evidence to determine which additional teachers cheated. 

We do not believe that Principal Woolfolk condoned or knew of cheating at M. Agnes 
Jones, The only time cheating was reported to her, she immediately alerted OIR and Lester 
McKee. 



301 




MARGnt. Retoa Woolfolk 



Pjuncipal 
M. Agnes Jones Elementary 



L04O^AiE.S'rREKr 1 SW 
Atlanta, Georgia 303 14 
Phone (404) 802-3 900 
Fax (404) 752-5655 



aking A Difference 



May 21, 2009 



Mr. Lester McKee, 

I would like to inform you of a complaint that I received from Ms. Montgomery-Dent, 
the mother of Kayla Dent, on Thursday, May 21, 2009 at approximately 2:00 p.m. Ms. 
Montgomery-Dent alleged the following against her child's 5 th grade teacher, Mrs. 
Precious Moon: 

• Students were given answers by the teacher an the CRCT 

• A student was advised to change his answer on the test 

• Students were told to bubble anything on the science portion of the test and she 
would change the answers later 

Due to the severity of these allegations, I felt it necessary to report the matter to you 
immediately as well as the Office of Internal Resolutions. 

Ms. Montgomery Dent's phone number is 1-21 6-374-71 30 
Sincerely, 

Margul Retha V/ooifolk 




Principal 



Cc: Dr. Sharon Davis- Williams 



Ms. Colinda Howard 



lU-UllU-29-H 



EXHIBIT 



302 



PARKS IDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



685 Mercer St Principal: Dr. Phillip Luck SRT-3 Executive Director: Dr. Gloria Patterson 

Atlanta, Georgia 30312 Testing Coordinator: Clementine Shanks 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Parkside Elementary in 2009. Sixteen people were 
interviewed at this school, some more than once. Three teachers confessed to cheating. 
Cheating at Parkside is evidenced by confessions. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


, 

21.3 


4.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


16 


3 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


7(5) 


3(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


6.1 


4 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


9.5 


49 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.2 


3.3 



HI. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Selena Wyatt (Teacher) 

Selena Wyatt confessed to prompting students to change their answers. If Wyatt felt like 
the students were not focusing or were getting obvious questions wrong, she said "listen again" 
and she re-read the question. She often saw students erase their answers when she did this. 
Wyatt only did this on the math section of the test. 

2. Pelitct Johnson Meredith (Teacher) 

Pelita Johnson Meredith taught third grade in 2009 and confessed to prompting her 
students when they answered incorrectly. As Meredith walked around monitoring her class, if 
she noticed they had an incorrect answer, she pointed to the test question. Her students 
understood that they needed to erase that particular answer. She did not tell them the correct 
answer. 

Meredith sometimes questioned the validity of students' CRCT scores when they 
transferred to Parkside from another school. Transfer students' test scores often did not match 
their ability in the classroom. She specifically identified students from Deerwood Academy. 



303 



Terance Shipman taught second grade in 2009 and confessed to prompting students 
during the CRCT. If he noticed a student answered a question incorrectly he sometimes 
reminded them to go back and review the question. Shipman never gave the students the 
answers. Shipman discussed various ways to prompt students with teachers Selena Wyatt and 
Tamara Sparks. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Selena Wyatt, Pelita Meredith, and Terance Shipman cheated on the 
2009 CRCT by prompting their students to change answers during the administration of the 2009 
CRCT. Principal Phillip Luck did not know of the cheating at Parkside Elementary . 



BETHUNE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



220 Northside Drive Principal: RoseMary Hanier SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotniau 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 14 Testing Coordinator: Aretha Ragland 

T. TNVESTTGATTVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Bethune Elementary in 2009. Thirty people were 
interviewed at this school, some more than once. Two teachers confessed to cheating. Cheating 
is evidenced by a high number of flagged classrooms, confessions and witness testimony. 
Principal RoseMary Hamer failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


23.1 


3.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


18 


2 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


13(4) 


1 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


4.2 


5.6 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


6.8 


7 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


4.3 



HL SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Narrative 

One teacher confessed to prompting students by reading questions a third time and 
rephrasing them to assist her students' comprehension. A second teacher confessed to prompting 
her students by reading questions a third time if they missed the question or fell behind. 

Bethune met AYP consistently for years, but the percentage of students meeting and 
exceeding standards steadily dropped. Principal RoseMary Hamer was under constant scrutiny 
and pressure from her SRT Director to meet district targets. As a result, pressure was passed 
down to the teachers. One teacher described it as "a culture of pressure" to meet targets. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

Angela Gardner admitted to cheating on the 2009 CRCT by prompting students during 
testing. Gardner walked around the class and if she noticed that several students had missed the 
same question she would go to the front of the class and read the question a third time. She 
sometimes rephrased the question. As a result of her actions, many of Gardner's students erased 
and changed their answers from wrong to right. 



305 



2. Holly Thomas (Teacher) 



Holly Thomas was a special education teacher for kindergarten and first grade in 2009. 
Thomas admitted to causing the students to erase and change their answers from wrong to right. 
During the 2009 CRCT, Thomas administered the test to eight special education students. All 
eight passed the test. If she noticed students worked ahead, she would make them erase the 
answers and only select answers after she read them the question. If she noticed that a student 
had fallen behind, she would read the question to the student a third time. If she noticed, while 
walking around the classroom, that a number of students had missed a question then she would 
read it a third time. 

Thomas had two particularly bright students who would sometimes shout out the answers 
to the test questions. The other students knew those two were bright and would erase and change 
their answers to what was shouted out. Thomas said that happened "a lot " A third child was 
particularly good at math and he only shouted out answers during the math section. 

There was a culture of pressure on the teachers. Principal Hamer never said or did 
anything inappropriate as far as putting pressure on teachers but if a teacher's class did not do 
well it reflected badly on the teacher. 

3. Sandra Wilson (Teacher) 

Sandra Wilson was a third grade teacher in 2009. She denied cheating. She resigned 
from Bethune due to harassment from Principal Hamer about low test scores on the 2009 CRCT. 
Her students were performing below grade level when they were assigned to her class. Principal 
Hamer told Wilson she "needed to do whatever she had to do to make sure the kids were going 
to pass." She was never explicitly told to cheat, but the message was clear to her. Others on the 
third grade level conveyed similar messages. She was frustrated and told them she was not 
going to cheat. She knew she had the lowest test scores in the school but her students did the 
best they could. Wilson said she did not cheat and was ostracized at the school. 

When questioned about specific students with improbable wrong- to-right erasures on the 
math section, Wilson was shocked. One child, who had ten out of 11 erasures changed from 
wrong to right, was identified as a special education student who Wilson did not believe erased 
at all. She recalled that he had emotional issues and just "shut down," and probably did not 
finish the test. Another student, who had five out of five erasures changed from wrong to right, 
was also a special education student who Wilson believed could not have made those erasures. 
Wilson tested both students with the entire class; they were not pulled out for separate testing. 
Wilson said about half of her third grade class performed at a kindergarten level and could barely 
read. 

Principal Hamer "hammered" the teachers about test scores in meetings. She grilled 
them about their scores on the benchmark tests which Wilson recalled were "awful, just awful 
. . really terrible." By the time they took the CRCT, everyone's scores suddenly improved 
except Wilson's, which remained just as they were on the diagnostic tests, Some of the teachers 
on her grade level had students that performed as poorly as Wilson's, yet passed the CRCT. 
Wilson felt certain that she was the only teacher who had valid scores, and she suspected 



306 



cheating but had no proof. Principal Hamer "called her out" in front of everyone because of her 
test scores. Wilson said that "if you didn't dance their dance and do what they want you to do, 
whether it was right or wrong— they didn't like you and they would try to harass and intimidate 
you." 

Money was a motivation for doing well. Wilson heard Principal Hamer say that she 
knew they were looking forward to getting their check and she (Hamer) was looking forward to 
getting hers too. Wilson was not surprised to learn that APS was being investigated for cheating. 
She felt there were well-qualified teachers at Bethune but their focus was not on the children. 

4. Alexandra Paiak (Teacher) 

Alexandra Pajak was a program coordinator at Bethune in 2009. She was assigned to 
Bethune through a program called Community in Schools. Her responsibility was to monitor 
attendance. Pajak left Bethune because the work environment was "toxic." Pajak gave 
investigators a document she had prepared for the interview. A copy of the document is included 
as Attachment A. The document includes the following information: 

a. Principal Hamer told the teachers at a staff meeting in November 
2010 that the GBI would be coming to interview them, that they 
would have a gun in their pocket, that they would try to intimidate 
them at their interview, and that teachers could choose what to tell 
them. 

b In September 2010, administrative assistant Djuana Edmond told 
Pajack, "It wasn't the teachers that cheated at this school. The 
administration really dodged a bullet [during first round of 
interviews], I didn't cheat and they're not interviewing me, so I'm 
not saying anything." 

c. On May 5, 2010, Principal Hamer withdrew students who missed 
ten or more days of school in order to meet APS attendance 
targets, and allowed students who lived outside of the zone to 
remain at school as long as their test scores and attendance were 
strong. 

5. Aretha Ragland (Assistant Principal & Testing Coordinator) 

Aretha Ragland was the assistant principal and testing coordinator in 2009. She had no 
information or knowledge of testing improprieties. 

6. Brenda Rattler (Teacher) 

Brenda Rattler was surprised over the years by children she believed would not perform 
well. She attributed their unexpected success to them "taking their time." 



307 



7. Charice Cos ton {Teacher) 



Charice Coston was a fifth grade teacher in 2009. She was on maternity leave during the 
2008-2009 school year and was not present to administer the 2009 CRCT to her class. 



Stanley was a second grade teacher in 2009. She denied cheating or knowledge of 
cheating. Stanley said she never erased anything on her students' tests, not even stray marks. At 
no time have teachers erased stray marks. They tell their students to erase them. Stanley recalled 
that she had four or five students in 2009 who received extra tutoring from Traci Walker, a 
special education teacher. She believed those students may have been tested separately by other 
teachers. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 



RoseMary Hamer was the principal of Bethune in 2009. She stated that the school has 
met AYP for so many years that although they did not technically meet AYP in 2010, Bethune 
was "deemed" to have met AYP "by confidence." Principal Hamer attributed the drop in flagged 
classes in 2010 to the students being afraid to erase. She has been principal of Bethune for ten 
years, and has met the district targets only a few times. Last year she was placed on a PDP by 
SRT-4 Executive Director Sharon Davis-Williams for low test scores, which she felt was unfair. 
Principal Hamer said she wanted to make targets, but did not feel pressure to do so. Asked if the 
teachers felt pressure about meeting targets, Principal Hamer said they "probably" did. 

The tests were locked in the vault to which only she, the secretary and Testing 
Coordinator Aretha Ragland had a key. Teachers could collect their tests between 7:30 and 8:00 
a.m. The tests were passed out and collected in the media center. Principal Hamer said they did 
not erase stray marks. She was not aware of any cheating allegations at Bethune, but was 
confident that any allegations that were reported would be thoroughly investigated by APS. She 
was not aware of students shouting out answers in class during 2009 testing. She would be 
surprised to learn that teachers at Bethune admitted to cheating. 

Regarding former teacher Sandra Wilson, Principal Hamer stated that Wilson was at 
Bethune for one year and was not a great teacher. Hamer thought that Wilson's students were 
not progressing at the pace they should have been. Principal Hamer felt that her third grade 
teachers were not a "solid group of teachers" in 2009. She would not have wanted Wilson to 
remain on the third grade level. 

D. Other Evidence 



8. 



Lisa Stanle y (Teacher) 



1. 



RoseMary Hamer (Principal) 



In 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, Bethune met AYP 



In 2009-2010, Bethune met AYP. The school's status dropped from 
"Distinguished" to "Adequate " The percentage of students not meeting 
standards increased by 6% . 



308 



• In 2010, teachers did not gather to erase stray marks as they had in prior 
years. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that cheating occurred on the 2009 CRCT at Bethune. Angela Gardner 
encouraged her second grade students to erase and change answers from wrong to right by 
rephrasing questions or reading them a third time. Holly Thomas prompted her special education 
students by reading questions a third time if several had missed the question or fell behind. 

Principal Hamer pressured teachers to "do what you need to do" to raise the test scores. 
She created an atmosphere where teachers felt it was necessary to cheat. Principal RoseMary 
Hamer failed in her ultimate responsibility for testing activities and for ensuring the ethical 
administration of, and proper securing for the 2009 CRCT. It is our conclusion, from the 
statistical data and the other evidence, that Principal Hamer failed to properly monitor the 2009 
CRCT, and adequately supervise testing activities and test security. This resulted in, and she is 
responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the results of the 2009 
CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



309 



Alexandra Pajak 
Interview, April 5, 2011 
Documentation 



Directly Rel ated to CRCT 

-On November 23, 2010 Principal RoseMary Hamer called a staff meeting in the 
media center at £ethuhe Elementary School. She told staff members, The GBI 
will be coming to The 3chool. They'll walking like this with their arm over their 
packer [demonstrated walking with armi over pocketj. They'll have a gun in their 
pocket They'll try to intimidate you when they interview you. And you can 
choose what to tell them." 

-September 2010 r Administrative Assistant Djuana Edmond told me, "It wasn't 
the teachers that cheated at this school The administration really dodged a 
bullet [during first round of interviews}, i didn't cheat and they're not interviewing 
me, so I'm not saying anything." 

-May 5, 2010: Principal withdraws students who miss 10 or more days of school 
to meet APS Attendance Target Principal allows students to remain at the 
school If out of zone as long as their rest scores and attendance are strong. 

-Spring 2010 The day the CRCT tests arrived to Bethune, an Administrative 
Team Meeting was held (already scheduled on calendar) in the front office 
conference room. ! presented my attendance data. The other people present 
(Principal RoseMary Hamer, Counselor Tamika Wrtcher, ILS staff member 
Stephanie Renfroe, Reading Coach Melanie Searcy, and Success for All coach 
Alicia Walton) looked [in my opinion] veiy nervous and scared. When f finished 
with my data, Principal RoseMary Hamor said to me, "You can decide to stay Dr 
leave the meeting now," 1 left the meeting, The meeting {which usually fasted 
about an hour) fasted four hours that day. 

Behavior of Administration 

-January a, 2010: While Principal out of the building, I was "mobbed" by 
administrative team, I was called into a meeting by ILS staff member Stephanie 
Renfroe, The group of women began to shout at me, telling me if I did not do as 
they said (to take a lunch monitor slot the principal tofd me not to] they would tell 
the principal J'm not "a team player." I walked out of the meeting, I informed the 
principal of the situation on January 6, 2010 in the main hallway when she 
returned to the building. She roNed her eyes and said, u l don't want this drama " 
and walked away. I complained to my supervisor, who iiefd a meeting with the' 
principal on January 12, 201 1. Ms. Renfroe continued to shout al me accusing 
me of shouting while in the meting in which I was mobbed. Principal did not ask 
Ms. Renfroe to lower her voice. The principal asked me (fn my opinion oddly) 



10-0110-25-11 £XHiMT 



310 



why I did not tike the schoof counselor, Tamika Witcher. I told her that irr 
Summer 2009 the counselor told a student who was seen by the school social 
worker for stab wounds, 1 should put you on hotghettomess.com • after (he 
student told her he had pet rotweilers at home. The principal than said 'That 
rarrt leaving this room.- (I had Informed my then supervisor of the comment the 
day of the comment m 2009.) 

-November 12, 2010 Principal RoseMary Hamer opened an d shut lha door 
halfway and f assumed it was a kid (I couldn't see anyone outside the little 
window part on the door, so I assumed it was a tiny kid that had trouble ooenino 
me door and would reopen It), The principal walked In and said, "You should 
have looked up. I could have been a sniper. You should be more careful" to Ihe 
attendance clerk, Mr. Cabral Williams, and ma 

-April 20, 2010 a fifth grader skipped school, Principal RoseMary Hamer told ILS 
staff member Ms. Stephanie Renfroe mat if the student tries to skip school Tell 
her {the student! will have the student handcuffed and taken away from the 
school in a police car." 

-On September 29, Principal refused to give me space to store food 

after I to d her I was asked not to write a press release for the Blessings in a 
Backpack program until Spring semester. 

- September 29, 2011 a parent came in with a yellow shirt that had pencil marks 
on rt. The parent said two to three boys had thrown glass bottles at his daunhter 
on the way home from school and that the pencil marks were where the boys 
stabbed her with a pencil. The principal did not suspend any of the students 
Once the parent and students left the front office, the principal said "I miqhf call 
the poifce on them/ referring to two brothers (one eight years old and another 
ten years old) to d(scipline them for throwing bottles and stabbing ' 
pencil. 



10-0110-25-H EXHIBIT. 



311 



MILES ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



4215 Bakers Ferry Road, SW Principal: Christopher Estes SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis- Williams 

Atlanta, Georgia 30331 Testing Coordinator: Skuanta Broadway 

L TNVESTTGATTVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Miles Elementary in 2009. Thirteen people were 
interviewed at this school, some more than once. Two teachers confessed to cheating. Cheating 
at Miles is evidenced by confessions and witness testimony. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 





200V 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


21.7 


2.9 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


13 


2 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


6(5) 


1(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


6.1 


3.8 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


9.8 


4.4 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.3 


3.1 



HI. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Testimony of Witnesses 

L Rae Debose-Douslas (Teacher) 

Rae Debose-Douglas recalled that teachers complained that their students' skills and 
abilities did not match their high scores on prior CRCT tests. 

Testing Coordinator Shuanta Broadway once commented that she had to review each 
student's CRCT answer sheet to make sure they answered the majority of the questions. 

2. Shondra Etheridse (Teacher) 

Shondra Etheridge denied any knowledge of cheating, but admitted that based on the 
statistical data, someone tampered with her tests. She heard of teachers using voice inflection to 
prompt students. 

3. Lillian Williams (Teacher) 

Lillian Williams admitted that she prompted students using voice inflection, and that her 
voice inflection could have caused the high wrong-to-right erasures in her classroom on the 2009 
CRCT. 



312 



4. Kialonya Wormley (Teacher) 



Kiatonya Wormley admitted that she erased the incorrect answer choice when students 
filled in one or more bubbles on the CRCT. She denied any further knowledge of cheating. 

5. Sabrina Claude (Teacher) 

Sabrina Claude heard that Debose-Douglas obtained a copy of the CRCT from another 
district, and used it to cheat on the 2009 CRCT. 

Claude identified a student in her classroom in 2010 that told her Lillian Williams gave 
the student answers during the 2009 CRCT. 

6. Temica Bell (Teacher) 

Temica Bell taught the daughter of fellow teacher Lakeisha Davis. That student told 
Temica Bell that she recognized a reading passage on the 2009 CRCT because she had studied it 
the previous night. Lakeisha Davis was friends with Rae Debose-Douglas and Lori McAdoo, 
both flagged teachers on the 2009 CRCT, 

7. Lakeisha Davis (Teacher) 

Lakeisha Davis stated that her daughter studied a CRCT coaching book that Lakeisha 
Davis borrowed from Miles Elementary, and denied Temica Bell's assertion that the book was a 
copy of the 2009 CRCT. 

Davis admitted to instructing her students to re-read a question when she noticed they had 
selected a wrong answer, and says this prompting could have accounted for the high number of 
wrong-to-right erasures in her classroom on the 2009 CRCT. 

8. Lori McAdoo (Teacher) 

Lori McAdoo denied all knowledge of cheating, and denied possessing a copy of the 

CRCT. 

9. Shuanta Broadway (Testing Coordinator) 

Shuanta Broadway testified that only Principal Estes and she had keys to the area where 
the tests were kept. The first and second grade teachers were permitted to clean stray marks 
from their testing materials, but the third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers were not. She denied 
telling Rae Debose-Douglas that she checked to make sure the students filled in the majority of 
their answers on their answer sheets. Broadway denied any knowledge of cheating on the 2009 
CRCT or in any other year. 

10. Christopher Estes (Principal) 

Principal Estes denied any knowledge of cheating at Miles. 



313 



IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Lakeisha Davis, Kiatonya Wormley and Lillian Williams cheated on 
the 2009 CRCT. We also conclude that Principal Estes did not know cheating occurred on the 
2009 CRCT. 



314 



GROVE PARK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



20 Evelyn Way Principal: Caitlyn Sims SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotmau 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 15 Testing Coordinator: Derick Brown 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Grove Park Elementary in 2009. Seven people were 
interviewed at this school, some more than once. Cheating at Grove Park is evidenced by two 
confessions and witness testimony, 

H. STATISTICAL DATA 





m 


201U 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


20 


4.5 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


15 


3 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


7(5) 


3 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


8.5 


3.9 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


15.8 


4.3 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.2 


3.1 



in. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Narrative 

The weight of the evidence indicates that cheating occurred in classrooms by teachers. 
Two teachers confessed to prompting their students to erase and change their answers from 
wrong to right. First grade teacher Allison Tollman cheated by prompting her students through 
voice inflection and stressing key words when reading questions and answers, and by reading 
questions a third time. Fifth grade teacher Beverly Shanks prepared her students a week before 
testing to watch for her verbal and non-verbal cues during testing. If she noticed a student with a 
wrong answer, she would look away from the student and tell the class to check their answers. 

We could not locate Testing Coordinator Derick Brown for an interview. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Caitlyn Sims (Principal) 

Caitlyn Sims' first year as principal at Grove Park was 2009. She had no explanation for 
the high wrong-to-right erasures in her school. Principal Sims feels that the target system at APS 
was very difficult and created a great deal of pressure and intimidation. She stated that instead of 
celebrating a school's accomplishments, APS constantly ranks and reminds schools of how 
"low" they are and that they didn't meet the targets. Additionally, principals are constantly 
reminded that evaluations are based on whether you make targets. She felt that targets were 
"statistically inappropriate" and that the system was like a house of cards. 



315 



Principal Sims was placed on a PDP by her SRT-4 Executive Director, Tamara Cotman. 
Principal Sims knew that she had not met her targets but was surprised by the PDP because she 
had received commendations in other areas. Cotman told her, "Based on your test scores, 
obviously you weren't really doing enough with your staff." 

2. Allison Tollman (Teacher) 

Allison Tollman admitted to cheating on the 2009 CRCT by prompting students and 
causing them to erase and change answers from wrong to right. Tollman also stated that she 
sometimes read the question a third time and stressed a portion of the question. She never gave 
students the correct answer. She believed that the high number of wrong-to-right erasures could 
have been caused by her voice inflection when she read the answer choices a third time. 

Tollman stated that she felt pressure to improve her students' scores from the "system" 
and administration. She felt that the former principal, Dr. Paula Snowden, applied more pressure 
with respect to scores. Tollman added that teachers did not gather to erase stray marks in 2009 
but had done so in previous years. 

3. Beverly Shanks ( "Teacher) 

Beverly Shanks was flagged in reading and math for high wrong-to-right erasures. 
Shanks confessed to cheating on the 2009 CRCT. She said that one week prior to the CRCT, she 
instructed her students that if she told them to check their answers during the test, they had a 
wrong answer and needed to review the question and answer choices again. She did not provide 
those instructions on test days because she was afraid of being overheard on the intercom. 
During the test, if she noticed an incorrect answer on a student's answer sheet, she would look 
away from the student and tell the class they needed to check their answers. She never directly 
told a student to check his or her answer. Shanks admitted she did this numerous times while the 
students were testing. She believed it would explain the high number of wrong-to-right erasures 
in her class. 

She heard of others cheating on the CRCT by assisting students with answers and erasing 
and changing answers on student tests. 

4. Pamela Lewis (Teacher) 

Pamela Lewis was flagged for high wrong-to-right erasures in all subjects. She denied 
cheating and knowledge of cheating. She did not know why her students had high numbers of 
wrong-to -right erasures because she did not see a lot of erasing. Lewis reported a testing 
irregularity in 2009. One student read and answered every question in the reading section of the 
test before Lewis read them aloud to the class. He filled in all of the answer choices for each 
question, so Lewis instructed him to go back and choose one answer per question, 

5. Maya Moore (Teacher) 

Maya Moore was flagged in all subjects for high wrong-to-right erasures. She stated that 
she read the question the first time in a monotone voice, but the second time she read the 
question she might add some inflection to her voice. Moore's interview was interrupted while 



316 



she administered a test. When the interview resumed, Moore recanted some of her statement. 
She said the first time she read the question in a normal tone. The second time she added some 
inflection to get the students to focus. She stated that she did not do that often on the CRCT. If 
re-reading the question caused students to change answers from wrong to right, it was not her 
intention. She felt that due to the high number of erasures, there may have been "outside help" 
as well as students looking at each other's answers during the test. She did not believe her 
actions could have caused all the erasures in her class. 

Moore added that she was close to the Testing Coordinator in 2009, Derick Brown, and 
thought he should be interviewed. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Allison Tollman and Beverly Shanks cheated by prompting their 
students during the administration of the 2009 CRCT. Principal Sims did not know of cheating 
at Grove Park. 



317 



JACKSON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1325 Mt Pa ran Road Principal: Dr. Lorraine Reich SRT-4 Executive Director: Tarnara Cotman 

At lant a, Georgia 3 03 27 Testing Coordinator: Jimmy e Hawkins 

T. TNVESTTGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Jackson Elementary in 2009. Jackson was not flagged 
for having classrooms with higher wrong-to-right erasures than the state mean. During the 
course of this investigation, however, we became aware of possible cheating at Jackson on the 
2009 CRCT. Five people were interviewed at Jackson and two teachers confessed to cheating. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


3.7 


6.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


4 


7 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


3(1) 


6(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


3.6 


3.5 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


4.8 


4.2 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


3.1 



m. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Testimony of Witnesses 

A Ann Off en (Teacher) 

Ann Offen admitted to prompting her students with voice inflection on the 2009 CRCT. 
She explained that her voice inflection was accidental because she read "dramatically" to her 
students all year long. She was "certain" that students "caught on to the way I inflect my voice." 
She further admitted that if she noticed a student mark the same answer choice over and over she 
would direct that student to re-read the questions. She further testified that she was not surprised 
she was flagged, but she was embarrassed to be flagged. 

2. Lori Dewberry (Teacher) 

Lori Dewberry testified that she never prompted a student, never suggested they re-read a 
particular question, and never pointed to or suggested correct answers. Dewberry stated that if 
she saw a student mark the same answer choice over and over she did nothing. Dewberry stated 
that she may have unconsciously prompted her students to change answers on the 2009 CRCT. 
She explained that she read "dramatically" to her students throughout the school year, and may 
have accidentally used voice inflection when reading the correct answer choices during the 2009 
CRCT. 



318 



3. 



Lorairme B. Reich (Principal) 



Lorainne Rech denied any knowledge of cheating at Jackson. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

Of the three flagged teachers at Jackson, two admitted they "accidentally" used voice 
inflection when reading the answer choices to their students during the 2009 CRCT, We 
conclude that Ann Often and Lori Dewberry cheated on the 2009 CRCT. We find that Principal 





319 



CLEVELAND ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



2672 Old Hapeville Road Principal: Dr. Rhonda Ware-Brazier SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts 

Atlanta, Georgia 30315 Testing Coordinator: Lillian Jackson 

I. EWES TIG ATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at Cleveland Elementary School in 2009. Sixteen 
people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. Cheating at Cleveland is 
evidenced by a confession. 



H. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


26.1 


8.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


18 


5 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 






Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


6.0 


42 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


13.8 


5.3 


T,ow Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.0 


3.8 



HI. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 



A. Testimony ofWitnesses 



/. Alvia Borne tt 



Alvia Barnett admitted to prompting students on the 2009 CRCT. Barnett said that if she 
noticed that a student answered a question incorrectly she told the student to go back and check 
the answer. She also rephrased an answer if she thought it was a word the student was not 
familiar with. 

Barnett' s proctor prompted students as well. She read the question again to individual 
students, even though Barnett had read the question twice. Barnett heard her proctor direct 
students to go back and check particular questions, 

2. Dr. Rhonda Ware-Brazier (Principal) 

Dr. Rhonda Ware-Brazier denied knowledge of cheating. 

She brought in retired teachers to proctor during testing in 2009. The retired teachers 
erased stray marks on the answer sheets, but teachers did not. 



320 



3. Lillian Jackson (Testing Coordinator) 

Lillian Jackson was the testing coordinator in 2009, She denied knowledge of cheating. 

Jackson gave teachers an opportunity to erase stray marks for approximately five to ten 
minutes after testing. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that Alvia Barnett cheated on the 2009 CRCT by prompting students to 
change their answers. Principal Ware-Brazier did not know of the cheating at this school. 



321 



ALONZO A. CRIM OPEN CAMPUS HIGH SCHOOL 



256 Clifton Street Principal: Dr. Angelisa Cummings SRT-5 Executive Director: Joyce McCloud 

Atlanta, Georgia 30317 Testing Coordinator: Isabella Copridge 

T. TNVESTTGAT1VE SUMMARY 

Alonzo A. Crim High School had one eighth grade class. Three sections of the CRCT 
were administered to this single class. One of those three sections was flagged, resulting in a 
33% flag rate being assigned to the school. This overall percentage was sufficient to put Crim in 
the severe category under the state's analysis even though there was only a single flagged 
subject. That one flagged classroom did not justify investigating Crim given the scope of the 
larger investigation. No one was interviewed with respect to Crim. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


33.3 





Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


1 





Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


1 





Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


5.2 





High Flagged Standard Deviation 


5.2 





Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


5.2 






in. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

There is insufficient evidence to make any conclusions 



322 



BENJAMIN S. CARSON PREPARATORY ACADEMY 



CLOSED Principal: Flora Goolsby SRT-4 Executive Director: Taniara Cotman 

Testing Coordinator: Nelta Lattimore 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

There is only statistical evidence that cheating occurred on the CRCT at Benjamin S. 
Carson Preparatory Academy (Carson) in 2009. Twenty-one people were interviewed at this 
school, some more than once. 

H. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


30 


N/A 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


9 


N/A 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


5(3) 


N/A 


| Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


4.7 


N/A 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


9.4 


N/A 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


N/A 



III. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Narrative 

In 2009, Carson contained about 125 eighth grade students. The sixth and seventh grades 
had been moved to the new BEST Academy and only the eighth grade remained on site at 
Carson. The school was a "Needs Improvement Year 8" school in its final year of existence. 
Principal Flora Goolsby was assigned to Carson to help close the school. A state monitor, Joel 
Standifer, was assigned to Carson on a full time basis. During administration of the CRCT, the 
tests were stored in Principal Goolsby' s office, locked in a closet. The Testing Coordinator, 
Nelta Lattimore, distributed and collected the tests from a cart in the hallway. After testing, 
Lattimore said the tests were rolled back to Principal Goolsby' s office. A witness claimed that 
the tests were rolled into Lattimore' s office and returned to Principal Goolsby' s office at the end 
of each day. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Arthur Jones (Math Coach) 

Arthur Jones taught at Benjamin Carson in 2009. He testified that he believes the school 
was flagged due to the test-taking strategies he taught. He stated that he told students that when 
there was not much time that they should mark "b" or "c" on the answer sheet and come back 
later and erase the answer if they had time to work through the problem and found that the 
answer was incorrect. Jones stated that some of the flagged teachers, specifically Ms. Shorter and 



323 



Charles Ball, would not have the knowledge to change math answers from wrong to right. He 
claimed no knowledge of cheating at Carson. 

Arthur Jones stated that any sixth grade teacher at an APS middle school can tell you that 
there is cheating on the CRCT in APS elementary schools, and it is just accepted that the scores 
are inflated. 

2. Charles Ball (Teacher) 

Charles Ball testified that it was "common knowledge" that cheating occurred in the 
elementary schools. He stated that Arthur Jones sometimes referred to himself as "Top Gun" 
and claimed to be the best math teacher. Ball's class was flagged at 6.6 for high wrong-to -right 
erasures on the math portion of the CRCT. 

3. Jacqueline Middlebrooks (Proctor) 

Jacqueline Middlebrooks proctored in Ms. Shorter 's classroom and testified that Ms. 
Shorter' s students were actually tested by a gifted teacher. Shorter' s classes were flagged in all 
three subject areas. 

4. Mary Gordon (Teacher) 

Mary Gordon, a former teacher, testified that having seen the test scores, there was no 
doubt there was cheating, She believed it could not have happened in the classroom due to lack 
of time and that some teachers did not know sufficient math to change the answers. 

5. Nelta Lattimore (Testing Coordinator) 

Nelta Lattimore testified that she was a counselor assigned as testing coordinator and was 
"scared to death" about anything going wrong with testing procedures. She stated that the tests 
were returned to a table in the hallway, then were placed on a cart that she rolled into Principal 
Flora Goolsby's office. She believed only the principal had the key, Lattimore did not believe 
Principal Goolsby or other administrators would ever erase answers. 

6. Joel Standi fer (State Monitor) 

Joel Standifer was assigned to Carson as a full time monitor for the 2008-2009 school 
year by the Georgia Department of Education because it was a "Needs Improvement Year 8" 
school. The tests were returned to a table in the hall. They were then rolled into Nelta 
Lattimore' s office and then later to the principal's office and stored overnight. He only observed 
the first day of testing. 

7. Marilyn Wallace (Secretary) 

Marilyn Wallace was the principal's secretary and testified that Nelta Lattimore brought 
the tests to the principal's office around 3:30 or 4:00 p.m. She stated that if there was cheating 
on the tests it had to have happened while the tests were in Lattimore' s office. 



324 



8. 



Flora Goolsby was assigned to Carson during the 2008-2009 school year to oversee the 
closing of the school. The school was comprised of eighth grade only, widi approximately 125 
students. Many had extreme academic deficits or behavioral problems. She testified that the 
teachers flagged with high wrong-to-right erasures were among those she "inherited" when she 
was assigned to the school in 2008-2009. She stated that the tests were locked in her office. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

For the 2009 CRCT at Carson, 30% of the classes exceeded three standard deviations 
from the State mean for wrong-to-right erasures. Five teachers had classes exceeding three 
standard deviations. Although we have concerns, the evidence we observed does not warrant 



further action. 



325 



C.W. HILL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



CLOSED Principal: Yolanda Brown SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams 

Testing Coordinator: Tracey Fletcher 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

There is limited statistical evidence that cheating occurred on the CRCT at C.W. Hill 
Elementary in 2009. Because C.W. Hill closed at the end of 2009, only one witness was 
interviewed at this school. 

H. STATISTICAL DATA 





2W) 


201,6 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


29.4 


N/A 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


15 


N/A 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


7(4) 


N/A 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


10.3 


N/A 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


25.1 


N/A 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.7 


N/A 



in. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

For the 2009 CRCT at C.W. Hill, 29.4% of the classes exceeded three standard deviations 
from the State mean for wrong-to-right erasures. Fifteen teachers had classes exceeding three 
standard deviations. Although we have concerns, the evidence does not warrant further action. 



326 



ADAMSVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



286 Wilson Mill Road Principal: Sharon Suitt SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis- Williams 

Atlanta, Georgia 3033 1 Testing Coordinator: Lucille Gourdine 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

There is limited statistical evidence that cheating occurred on the CRCT at Adamsville 
Elementary in 2009. Eleven people were interviewed at this school. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 





1 — ; 




Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


27,8 


1.9 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


20 


I 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


10(7) 


1(0) 


Mean WTR LStandard Deviations from State Norm 


o 


3.R 


High Flagged Standard 


9.7 


38 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.2 


3.8 



HL SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

For the 2009 CRCT at Adamsville, 27.8% of the classes exceeded three standard 
deviations from the state mean for wrong-to-right erasures. Ten teachers had 20 classes 
exceeding three standard deviations. In 2010, the percentages of classes with wrong-to-right 
erasures exceeding three standard deviations from the state mean dropped significantly from 
27.8% to 1.9%. Although we have concerns, the evidence does not warrant further action. 



327 



CASCADE ELEMENTARY SCITOOL 



2326 Venetian Dr. Principal: Dr, Alfooso L. Jessie, Jr. SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams 

Atlanta, GA 3033 1 Jesting Coordinator: Barbara Ash 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

There is only limited statistical evidence that cheating occurred at Cascade Elementary in 
2009. Fourteen people were interviewed at this school, some more than once. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


20 JO 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


28.8 


1.9 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


19 


1 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


10(6) 


1(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


5.2 


3.3 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


13.7 


3.3 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.2 


3.3 



m. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Dr. Alfonso Jessie (Principal) 

Dr. Alfonso Jessie said there is pressure from APS to make targets and improve test 
scores. SRT-1 Director Sharon Davis-Williams put Dr. Jessie on three PDPs when Cascade 
failed to meet targets. On occasion Davis-Williams would ask Dr. Jessie what he was going to 
do about a particular teacher whose students did not do well on the CRCT. Dr. Jessie testified 
that he has no knowledge of anyone at Cascade cheating on the CRCT. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

Due to the statistical evidence and the testimony of witnesses, we cannot determine what 
happened at Cascade. A number of teachers told investigators that there was no time limit within 
which they had to turn the tests in to the testing coordinator. Tt is possible that the teachers had 
time to prompt students or change answers in the classroom. No witnesses admitted to 
prompting students or changing answers. Although we have concerns, the evidence does not 
warrant further action. 



328 



HERITAGE ACADEMY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



3500 Villa Circle SE Principal: Yvonne Bemal SRT-2 Executive Director: Michael Pitts 

Atlanta, Georgia 30354 Testing Coordinator: Meribell White 

T. TNVESTTGATTVE SUMMARY 

There is only limited statistical evidence that cheating occurred on the 2009 CRCT at 
Heritage Academy Elementary. Eighteen people were interviewed at this school. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


20111 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


28.2 


9.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


22 


7 


Number of Teachers Flagged fro WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


17(4) 


7(2) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from Slate Norm 


5.5 


6.3 


High. Flagged Standard Deviation 


10 6 


11.0 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.0 


3.0 



m. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

For the 2009 CRCT at Heritage Academy, 28.2% of the classes exceeded three standard 
deviations from the State mean for wrong-to-right erasures. Seventeen teachers had 22 classes 
exceeding three standard deviations. In 2010, the percentage of classes with wrong-to-right 
erasures exceeding three standard deviations from the State mean dropped from 28.2% to 9.3%. 
The evidence we observed does not warrant further action. 



329 



UNIVERSITY COMMUNITY ACADEMY 



2050 Tiger Flowers Drive, NW Principal: Dr. Jim Harris SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotmaii 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 14 Testing Coordinator: Tammy Miller 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Cheating occurred on the CRCT at University Community Academy (UCA) in 2009 and 
other years. Two people confessed to cheating. Cheating at UCA is evidenced by confessions 
and witness testimony. Twenty-six people were interviewed at UCA, some more than once. 
Principal Jim Harris failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT. 

H. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


25 


4.2 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


5 


3 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


4(1) 


3(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


8.3 


3.6 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


13.9 


4.3 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.3 


3.2 



HI. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Narrative 

Cheating occurred at UCA during CRCT testing in 2008 and 2009. One teacher 
confessed to cheating in 2009 during CRCT testing. When students raised their hands during 
testing, she provided answers. Her proctor was present but was reportedly unaware of the 
teacher's actions. Three proctors said teachers for whom they proctored cheated. Melvin 
McClain circulated among the lower achieving students in his class during 2008 and 2009 
testing, and read off a series of answers for the students. Haron Wood confessed that he also 
provided answers for McClain' s students. 

Wanda Nevett was implicated by two of her proctors for cheating. 

Wanda Williams was implicated by her proctor and other witnesses for cheating during 
2009 CRCT testing. Williams would go to students who raised their hand and provide answers. 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Christine Clvne (T zacher) 

Christine Clyne confessed to cheating on the CRCT in 2009. Clyne admitted to cheating 
by providing students with answers during testing. She said she gave answers to students who 
raised their hands, Her proctor was unaware of what she was doing. Clyne was unaware of 



330 



anyone else in the school engaging in similar behavior. A combination of personal pressure and 
pressure from Principal Harris may have motivated her actions. She was accused of testing 
improprieties while teaching at another school several years ago. 

2. Dr. Jim Harris (Principal) 

Dr. Jim Harris was the Principal of UCA in 2009. Principal Harris denied knowledge of 
cheating. Although he had a statistics background and understood the meaning of high standard 
deviations, he refused to believe that cheating could account for the high erasures at UCA. 
Principal Harris appeared surprised when shown the names of the flagged teachers, many of 
whom he had recruited from other schools. He admitted hiring Clyne despite knowledge of 
previous allegations of cheating made against her at another school. He denied putting pressure 
on teachers. When informed that some had made confessions and implicated others, Principal 
Harris refused to believe that cheating was possible because testing procedures were tight. He 
claimed he personally went from room to room monitoring the school during testing. 

3. Haron Wood (Proctor) 

Haron Wood proctored for Melvin McClain in 2009 and for a few days in 2008. Wood 
testified that during 2008 and 2009 CRCT testing in McClain' s sixth grade class, McClain would 
walk around the class and "blatantly" provide answers to the students. Wood stated that 
McClain would stand over particular students, instruct them to write quickly and read them a 
series of 10 to 15 answers. Some students had already filled in wrong answers, which they 
erased and changed to the right answers provided by McClain. Other students left questions 
unanswered and waited for McClain to come over and provide answers. McClain had materials 
in hand to assist him in providing answers. McClain focused on the lower achieving students 
and left the higher performing students alone. 

Wood admitted to providing some students with answers during testing in McClain' s 
class during CRCT testing. 

Wood said he also proctored for Wanda Nevett during 2008 CRCT testing. He said that 
in 2008 Nevett cheated by using voice inflection to give her students answers. Wanda Nevett 
would also walk around and "abruptly" inform students when they had missed a question and 
provide the correct answer. If a student was taking too long to fill in an answer, Nevett would 
tell the child, "What is taking so long, the answer is ." 

4. Rhonda Smith (Proctor) 

Rhonda Smith worked as a lunchroom assistant and served as a proctor for Wanda 
Williams in 2009. Smith stated that Williams went to students who raised their hands during 
CRCT testing and gave them the answer. Smith could hear Williams providing answers. 
Students sometimes asked Smith for the answers, but because it was sixth grade and she was 
unsure of the correct answer, she would summon Williams over to the student, and Williams 
provided the student with the answer. Smith observed that Williams had papers in her desk 
drawer that she appeared to be referencing. Smith said she knew there were different versions of 
the test and did not know how Williams had access to the correct information. 



331 



5. MeiTei Smith (Proctor) 



MeiTei Smith was a proctor for Wanda Nevett in 2009. Smith stated that during the 2009 
CRCT, Nevett walked around the classroom and erased on students' test books as she 
administered the test. Smith was uncertain whether Nevett was erasing answers. Nevett walked 
around the room pointing at students' test books, but Smith was not certain if Nevett was 
prompting them to change their answers, Nevett used voice inflection when reading answer 
choices. Nevett read the questions more than twice which Smith knew to be a testing violation. 

6. Tammy Miller {Testing Coordinator) 

Tammy Miller was the Testing Coordinator in 2009. She denied any knowledge of 
cheating, 

7. Shirley Shivers (Tutor & Proctor) 

Shirley Shivers was a tutor and proctor in 2009. A proctor or monitor told Shivers that 
Wanda Williams' classroom door was locked during the CRCT. Students said that Wanda 
Williams and Melvin McClain provided answers during testing. Shivers said that if cheating 
occurred, it would have taken place in the classroom. 

8. Kimbertv Lucas (Teacher) 

Students told Kimberly Lucas that Wanda Williams cheated by using coughing as a 
signal. Williams coughed a certain number of times to indicate the correct answer. Lucas was 
flagged in math with a standard deviation above 12, which she could not explain. She said most 
of her students "sucked" in math. 

9. Janice Mencey (Counselor) 

Janice Mencey was the school counselor in 2009. She assisted testing coordinator 
Tammy Miller with the test materials. Mencey denied cheating or knowledge of cheating; 
however, she admitted that even if she had information about cheating she might not disclose it 
to us. She stated that if she told anyone, it would most likely be the principal. 

C. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Melvin McClain (Teacher) 

Melvin McClain stated that the majority of his students performed at high levels and that 
their success was due to his "teaching to the test" methodology and emphasis on the CRCT 
coach book, He stated that everywhere he has worked, the administration placed him in grades 
that needed the most work to raise test scores. McClain took pride in calling himself "the 
disciplinarian of the school." McClain could provide no explanation for his high wrong to right 
erasures. 



332 



2. Wanda Williams (Teacher) 



Wanda Williams was a sixth grade teacher at UCA. She was flagged in all three subject 
areas. She stated that if anyone claimed she provided answers to students, they were lying. 
Williams did not believe that any student would be angry enough to accuse her of cheating. She 
claimed that she did not have the ability to answer some of the math problems on the test. She 
denied that her doors were locked during the test. Williams erased stray marks but denies 
changing answers. 

3. Wanda Nevett (Teacher) 

Wanda Nevett was one of two first grade teachers at UCA and had over 30 years of 
teaching experience, She and the other teacher, Torri Brown, split the first grade students into 
high and low performing groups, and Wanda Nevett taught the lower achieving students. At her 
first interview, Nevett claimed that the high erasures might have been the result of her "body 
language." Her students knew her so well that they knew what she was trying to say without her 
having to say anything. Nevett believed the erasures took place in her classroom and that the 
tests were not tampered with after leaving her classroom. She denied erasing anything on the 
students' tests, including stray marks, Nevett was unsure how many times she was allowed to 
read the questions and admitted she probably read them more than twice. 

At her second interview, Nevett claimed she read some questions substituting language 
familiar to her students. When advised that she was seen walking around making erasures on 
students' tests, she denied erasing answers but claimed she was erasing stray marks. She 
admitted she lied at her first interview, claiming she was scared. Nevett testified that the only 
thing she did that may have influenced the students' answers was changing the language when 
she read some questions, and hitting a student's desk and saying "pay attention!" Nevett denies 
pointing to answers on the test. 

D, Other Evidence 

Haron Wood believed that teachers at UCA provided assistance to students during test 
administration as a result of pressure placed by Principal Jim Harris. Principal Harris told the 
staff that the school must make AYP "by any means necessary." Wood believed that several 
teachers helped their students cheat. 

TV. ANALYSTS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that cheating occurred at UCA in 2008 and 2009. 

We conclude that Christine Clyde, Haron Wood, Melvin McClain, Wanda Williams, and 
Wanda Nevitt cheated on the CRCT. 

Principal Harris exerted pressure to make AYP. We conclude that Principal Harris either 
knew or should have known that cheating occurred. He created an atmosphere where teachers 
felt it was necessary to cheat. 



333 



Principal Jim Harris failed in his responsibility for testing activities and for ensuring the 
ethical administration of, and proper security for, the 2009 CRCT. It is clear from the statistical 
data, and the other evidence with regard to cheating in the APS system, that Harris failed to 
properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, adequately supervise testing activities and test security. This 
resulted in, and he is responsible for, falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the 
results of the 2009 CRCT to the Georgia Department of Education. 



334 



WILLIAMS ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



CLOSED Principal: Mary Joyce Harris SRT-4 Executive Director: Taniara Cotniau 

Testing Coordinator: Teresa Ayers 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

Williams Elementary had six flagged teachers in 2009, and closed at the end of the 2008- 
2009 school year. Each of those flagged teachers administered the test to seven or fewer 
students. Given the small sample size of each flagged classroom, and the fact that it is closed, 
we did not interview anyone at this school. 

H. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


21)10 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


20.4 


N/A 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


11 


N/A 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3 ,0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


6(3) 


N/A 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


6.9 


N/A 


HighFlagge Stan - Deviation 


11.8 


N/A 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.5 


N/A 



m. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We have no opinion on whether there was cheating at Williams, but do not believe it 
warrants any further investigation. 



335 



HERNDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



350 Temple Street Principal: Betty Tinsley SRT-1 Executive Director: Dr. Sharon Davis- Williams 

Atlanta, Georgia 303 14 Testing Coordinator: Patrice Lisbon 

L IN VESTTGAT I VE SUMMARY 

There is limited statistical evidence that cheating occurred on the CRCT at Herndon 
Elementary in 2009. Fourteen people were interviewed at this school. 

EL STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


20.4 


1.9 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


11 


1 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


5(3) 


1(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


5 


3.7 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


7.3 


3.7 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.1 


3.7 



in. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

For the 2009 CRCT at Herndon, 20.4% of the classes exceeded three standard deviations 
from the state mean for wrong-to-right erasures. Eleven classes exceeded three standard 
deviations. Seven of these classes were first and second grade classes. Tn 2010 the percentages 
of classes with wrong-to -right erasures exceeding three standard deviations from the state mean 
dropped significantly from 20.4% to 1 .9%. Although we have concerns, the evidence does not 
warrant further action. 

We note that the report made by Dr. Jackie Boyce in 2009, regarding a student saying a 
teacher at Herndon helped the students with answers, was not properly investigated by APS at 
the time. The evidence with regard to that matter was stale by the time of this investigation. 



336 



BOLTON ACADEMY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



2268 Adams Drive, NW Priucipal: Laura Strickling SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotmaii 

Atlanta, Georgia 30318 Testing Coordinator: Pamela Patterson 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

There is only limited statistical evidence that cheating occurred on the 2009 CRCT at 
Bolton Academy Elementary, and this evidence lacks sufficient detail upon which to base further 
action. Ten teachers were interviewed at this school. 

n. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


15.9 


4.5 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


1 1 


3 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


5(4) 


1(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


5.9 


3.6 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


9.7 


4.0 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.0 


3.0 



in. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Testimony of Witnesses 

1. Ameera Lucky (Teacher) 

Ameera Lucky witnessed teachers erasing stray marks as a group in the conference room 
in 2009. 

Lucky also stated that Principal Strickling routinely backdated materials such as 
evaluations, observations, and receipt of documents. Some teachers reported this to SRT-4 
Director Tamara Cotman, but Cotman took no action. After the teachers reported this conduct to 
Cotman, Principal Strickling sent a memorandum ordering teachers to send correspondence to 
Cotman through Principal Strickling. 

Teachers at Bolton were told that if GBI agents came to their homes, they were to tell the 
agents they could only interview them through Principal Strickling. 

2. Tabitha Stroud (Teacher) 

Tabitha Stroud believes voice inflection was used to prompt first and second grade 
students on the CRCT. 

Principal Strickling asked Stroud to backdate documents on more than one occasion. 
Stroud heard other teachers complain that Principal Strickling put false information in their 



337 



personnel files. All of this was reported to SRT Executive Director Cotman, but Cotman never 
responded to the teachers' concerns. Principal Strickling e-mailed the teachers and instructed 
them not to correspond with Cotman anymore. 

3. Pamela Patterson {Testing Coordinator) 

Pamela Patterson denied cheating or knowledge of cheating, and denied she erased any 
stray marks in 2009. Patterson is aware of teachers complaining that the previous year's CRCT 
score of a particular student did not match up with their abilities. Patterson implied that 
generally this was because the teacher did not feel he or she could prepare the student as well. 
On one occasion a teacher brought this concern to her and she concurred that the student's score 
was surprising. 

4. Kristi Tompkins (Teacher} 

Kristi Tompkins heard that Theresa Powell gave answers to her students on the 2008 
CRCT. Tompkins heard Powell was "dealt with" by APS but does not know any further details. 

B. Testimony of Individuals Implicated 

1. Laura Strickling {Principal) 
Laura Strickling denied knowledge of cheating 

2. Theresa Powell (Teacher) 

Theresa Powell was suspended for thirty days for improperly prompting students on the 
2008 CRCT. She said that she told the students to "check their answers and make sure they are 
correct." She recognized this was a testing violation and submitted to the suspension. 

According to Powell, she was surprised to see that she was flagged. She had specifically 
requested and been given a proctor for the 2009 CRCT. She says she would not have had an 
opportunity to cheat. If anyone erased answers it must have been the teacher who administered 
the test to her ESOL students with accommodations or the administration. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

Although we have concerns, especially regarding the possible attempts by Principal 
Strickling to interfere with this investigation, the evidence we observed does not warrant further 
action. 



338 



MORNINGSIDE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



1053 East Rock Springs Road Principal: Rebecca Pmitt SRT-3 Executive Director: Dr. Gloria Patterson 

Atlanta, Georgia 30306 Testing Coordinator: Kori Sanchez 

T. INVESTIGATIVE SUMMARY 

There is only limited statistical evidence that cheating occurred on the CRCT at 
Morningside Elementary in 2009. Five people were interviewed at this school, some more than 
once. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 





200? 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


3 2 


4.9 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


4 


5 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3.0 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


4(0) 


5(0) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


3.9 


38 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


4 8 


4.3 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.2 


3.4 



in. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

A. Narrative 

In 2009, four teachers were flagged for having wrong-to-right erasures higher than the 
State mean. During the course of this investigation, allegations were made that Elizabeth 
Richman told a teacher at Springdale Park Elementary that teachers at Morningside instructed 
their students to leave questions blank when they did not know the answers, allowing the 
teachers to fill in the correct answers later. Elizabeth Richman denied making that statement, 
and denied any knowledge of cheating on the CRCT. 

One teacher testified that although teachers were required to turn their CRCT materials in 
immediately after testing, "no one checked on teachers to make sure their tests were turned in 
immediately." 

B. Testimony of Witnesses 

/. Elizabeth Richman (Teacher) 

Elizabeth Richman denied telling anyone that teachers at Morningside instructed students 
to leave answers blank and filling the answers in later. She stated that she had no knowledge of 
cheating on the CRCT, but that teachers were not "checked on" to make sure they turned in their 
CRCT materials immediately after testing. 



339 



2. Rebecca Pruitt (Principal) 



Rebecca Pruitt denied any knowledge of cheating on the 2009 CRCT. 
IV. ANALYSE OF EVIDENCE 

For the 2009 CRCT at Momingside, 3.2% of the classes exceeded three standard 
deviations from the state mean for wrong-to-right erasures. Four teachers had classes exceeding 
three standard deviations. Two of these classes were first and second grade classes, in 2010 the 
percentages of classes with wrong-to-right erasures exceeding three standard deviations from the 
State mean grew from 3.2% to 4.9%, consisting of one classroom that tested one student. The 
evidence we observed does not warrant further action. 



340 



MORRIS BRANDON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 



2741 Howell Mill Road Northwest Principal: Karen Evans SRT-4 Executive Director: Tamara Cotman 

Atlanta, Georgia 30327 Testing Coordinator: Peter Settelmayer 

T. INVESTFGATTVE SUMMARY 

We found no evidence of cheating at Morris Brandon. Six people were interviewed at 
this school, some more than once. 

II. STATISTICAL DATA 





2009 


2010 


Percentage of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


1 


4.3 


Number of Classrooms Flagged for WTR Erasures 


1 


5 


Number of Teachers Flagged for WTR Standard Deviations above 
3 (Number of Teachers Flagged in Multiple Subjects) 


1(0) 


4(1) 


Mean WTR Standard Deviations from State Norm 


5.8 


3.4 


High Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.8 


3.8 


Low Flagged Standard Deviation 


3.8 


3.1 



HI. SUMMARY OF EVIDENCE 

In 2009, Sarah Elizabeth Visel was the only teacher flagged for high wrong-to-right 
erasures. While Visel was the only homeroom teacher identified by the state, she did not 
administer the CRCT in 2009. She was out on maternity leave. The test was actually 
administered by Omema Martin and proctored by Judith Maisonneuve, Both Martin and 
Maisonneuve denied any knowledge of cheating. We conclude that there was no cheating at 
Morris Brandon given the low standard deviations for both 2009 and 2010, the small number of 
classrooms flagged, coupled with the lack of other evidence. 

IV. ANALYSIS OF EVIDENCE 

We conclude that there was not cheating at Morris Brandon on the 2009 CRCT. No 
further investigation is needed. 



341 



2009 VS. 2010 

The GOSA erasure analysis performed on the 2010 CRCT provides 
additional proof of cheating in 2009 and other years. By the time the CRCT was 
administered in the spring of 2010, the GOSA 2009 erasure analysis had been 
made public and Governor Perdue ordered the district to investigate the flagged 
schools. Media attention was focused on the district, and the state sent 
representatives to some of the district schools to observe administration of the test. 

Following the 2010 CRCT, GOSA commissioned another erasure analysis. 
That study revealed a dramatic drop in WTR erasures, and consequently, the 
overall percentage of classes flagged plummeted in virtually every school in the 
"moderate" and "severe' 1 concern categories. For example, Parks Middle School, 
with the highest percentage of classes flagged in Georgia in 2009, dropped from 
89.5% in 2009, to 4% in 2010. Gideons Elementary went from 88.4% to 25%; 
FX. Stanton Elementary from 83.3% to 7.1%. 

We presented the principals of these schools with the 2010 erasure analysis 
and asked for an explanation of the precipitous drops in flagged classes. Many 
claimed that some students were afraid to erase in 2010 because of the media 
coverage surrounding the erasure analysis. None of those principals offered proof 
that the students actually erased less. A few principals recalled an occasional 



342 



student or parent asking whether it was okay to erase. Most confirmed that 
teachers still encouraged students to erase when necessary. 

The problem with the "students are afraid to erase" explanation is that it 
assumes that the students were erasing in die first place. It is possible that 
students' reticence to erase may account for some drops in flagged classes in a few 
schools. It does not account for the 85 percentage point decrease at Parks, and the 
significant drops at schools where we have confirmed cheating occurred. 

Cook Elementary and BEST Academy provide a distressing example of how 
the presence of state monitors (and not the students' fears) resulted in fewer 
flagged classes. Cook Elementary had 40.7% of its classes flagged in 2009, and 
we found direct evidence of coordinated cheating by Principal LaPaul Shelton on 
the 2009 CRCT. In contrast, BEST Academy was "clear of concern" in 2009. In 
2010, the distnet transferred LaPaul Shelton to BEST Academy to serve as 
principal. There were no state monitors at BEST because it had previously been 
"clear- of concern." Apparently, Shelton has engaged in the same improper 
practices at BEST that he did at Cook in 2009. The percentage of classes flagged 
at BEST increased from 3.9% in 2009 to 19.4% in 2010. At Cook, where state 
monitors supervised the CRCT administration in 2010, and Shelton was no longer 
the principal, the percentage of flagged classes fell to 5%. This shift between 
Cook and BEST shows that the percentage of flagged classes at Cook dropped not 



343 



because the students stopped erasing, but perhaps because Principal Shelton 
removed. 



344 



ATLANTA PUBLIC SCHOOLS 



PERCENTAGE OF CLASSES WITH FLAGGED WTR'S 



School 


2009 


2010 


Parks Middle 


89.5 


4.0 


Gideons Elementary 


88.4 


25.0 


Peyton Forest 


86.1 


26.1 


F L Stanton 


83.3 


7.1 


Usher Elementary 


78.4 


13.3 


Venetian Hill 


75.4 


1.5 


Capitol View 


70.8 


19.0 


Conn ally Elementary 
z — - y 


70.5 


9.9 


Dunbar Elementary 


68.6 


22.2 


Scott Elementary 


68.0 


1.4 


Perkcrson Elementary 


66.7 


7.0 


Blalock Elementary 


66.7 


closed 


Towns Elementary 


63.6 


12.1 


Woodson Elementary 

— 7 | 


63.3 


15.7 


Whitefoord Elementary 

«L 


59.3 


13.3 


D H Stanton Elementary 


58.3 


17.6 


Boyd Elementary 

<L 1> 


56.1 


15.7 


West Manor Elementary 


54.9 


28.9 


Turner Middle 


54.0 


9.3 


Kennedy Middle 


53.2 


6.0 


Fiekett Elementary 


51.4 


9.3 


Finch Elementary 
— ^ . 


48.0 


10.3 


Deerwood Academy 


47.8 


8.6 


White Elementary 


47.4 


22.9 


Hutchinson Elementary 


47.0 


1 .6 


Humphries Elementary 


46.7 


10 4 

• 


Benteen Elementary 


43.1 


0.0 


Beecher Hills 


42.6 


2.4 


East Lake Elementary 


42.0 


0.0 


Cook Elementary 


40.7 


5.0 


Fain Elementary 


39.7 


18.8 


Thomasville H 


39.1 


7.2 


Dobbs Elementary 


33.3 


6.9 


Crim High School 


33.3 


0.0 


Coan Middle School 


31.4 


3.3 


Slater Elementary 


30.3 


5.2 


Benjamin S Carson 


30.0 




C W Hill Elementary 


29.4 


closed 


Cascade Elementary 


28.8 


1,9 


Heritage Academy 


28.2 


9.3 


Adamsville Elementary 


27.8 


1.9 



345 



School 


2009 


2010 


Cleveland Elementary 


26 1 


O.J 


University Co 


2S 


4 9 


Harner Archer 

l-Liil Uvl I &.1 VXi wl. 


94 1 


n 7 

O. / 


M A Tones Elementary 


91 1 

^ J . 1 


7 8 


Bethune Element arv 


21 1 




IVTilps Flprnpnlarv 

IVlll^/j J—*1\jL1L Vll LCL1 y 


91 7 


9 Q 


Toomer Elem entarv 


91 4 


fl 


Parks ide Elem entarv 


21 1 


t. J 


Williams Elementary 


20.4 




Hern don Elementary 


90 4 


1 Q 


Grove Park Elementary 


20.0 


4 S 


The Bridge 


16.7 





Bolton Academy 


1 i 9 


4 S 


Imamne Wesle 


1 3 7 


^ 9 


Long Middle 


12.4 




Kimberly Elementary 


1 1 .7 


7 Q 


Youne lVTiddle 


1 1 4 


1 9 


Sylvan Hills 


1 4 




Garden Hills 


9 7 


f, 9 


Brown Middle 

1 * -A \_> r V XX I ' ll vl VI 1 V 


9 1 


7 S 


Continental C 


9 1 


1 9 1 


Bunche Middle 


7 S 


9 8 


Bunzcss Peter 


7 1 




W. \J 


King Middle 


6.1 


1 4 


Charles R. Drew 


< 1 




Inman Middle 

AlllllLill 1*11 »_iVXi W 


4 5 




The Best Academy 


1 9 




Kinn West Elementary 


1 9 


7 8 


Jackson Elementary 


37 




Coretta Scott 


1 7 


J.U 


Momin&side Elementary 

xTxi/i xxx ix c~ ij i vx. w i — a win vi i iLLl y 


1 2 


4 9 


Atlanta Charter 


1 


n n 

u.u 


Hope Elementary 


2 K 


s n 

J .V 


Price Middle 


2 2 


4 R 


Smith Elementary 


1 .0 


1 9 


Brandon Elementary 

x/ivuiUVll X — /X VAX XV 11 IU1 y 


1 


4 7 


Sutton Middle 


0.9 


1.9 


Lin Elementary 


0.0 


0.0 


Rivers Elementary 


0.0 


1.5 


Centennial PI 


0.0 


3.0 


Neighborhood 


0.0 


2.2 


APS CEP Partner 


0.0 


0.0 


Hillside Cona 


0.0 


0.0 



346 



GLOSSARY 



TERM 


DEFINITION 


APS 


Atlanta Public Schools. An independent school system in the City 
of Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Officially the "Atlanta 
tndenendent School SvQtpm " 


AYP 


Adequate Yearly Progress. Part of the federal No Child Left 
Behind Act of 2001, AYP is a measure of year-to-year student 
achievement on statewide asse^Qm^ntQ ^!rhoo1<: cr*tir\r»l rllctrirfc 
and states must demonstrate a certain level of performance on 
reading and/or language arts and mathematics assessments. 
Schools that do not "meet AYP" for two mmpmtivp vpari in thp 
same subject area are designated as schools in "Needs 
Improvement." 


Certified educator 


Individuals trained in education who hold teaching, leadership, 
service, technical specialist, or permit certification issued by the 
PSC. 


Classroom level data 


CRCT erasure analysis data for specific teacher or homeroom, 
including the subject tested, number of students, total number of 
wrong to right erasures, and resulting standard deviation 


Confessed 


Admitted to the truth of a charge or accusation. 


Convocation 


Annual celebration held by APS to recognize schools that have 
met at least 70 percent of its performance targets. All APS 
schools' faculty are expected to attend. 


CRCT 


Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. A standardized test 
used by Georgia as the AYP assessment tool for elementary and 
middle schools. Tests grades 1-8 in reading, English/language 
arts, and math. In addition, grades 3-8 are tested in science and 
social studies, 


HLA 


English /language arts 


Fifth (5 th ) Amendment 


The privilege against self-incrimination grounded in the Fifth 
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing that no person 
wm uv^ v^vjiupciicu lu uc a wuncbs against nimseir. m a criminal 
case, if a defendant invokes the 5 th Amendment and refuses to 
testify, he may not be presumed guilty based on that refusal. 
However, in a civil case, if a witness invokes the 5 th Amendment 

and refuses to answox nnesfions ronr , prnirio-'U7hp»fh<=»r he* r\r aha 

**" u * V«k7^k7 tu Uiiu YY VI \.I14V0L1VJ1J0 vUUvtl lllLLtL Wilt/ 111 CI IJC \J1 ollC 

committed a particular act, "it creates an implied admission that a 
truthful answer would tend to prove that the witness had 
committed the act." Perez v. Atlanta Check Cashers, Inc., 302 
Ga. App. 864, 870 (2010). 


GOSA 


Governor's Office of Student Achievement. State agency which 
provides accountability for Georgia's schools, pre-K through 
postsecondary levels. The intent is to improve student 
achievement and school completion in Georgia. 


GTR ID# 


Unique identification number assigned to each student. 



347 



IEP 


Individualized Education Program, Free, appropriate, public 
special education services which students with certain disabilities 
or impairments are eligible to receive. An IEP is a written plan 
developed by a team of teachers, other qualified personnel, 
parents, guardians, and the student if appropriate. 


Implicated 


Shown to be also involved, usually in an incriminating manner. 


LA 




MA 


Mathematics 


Makes the floor 


At Convocation, schools that "make the floor" have met at least 
70 percent of its targets, Those schools' faculty members are 
acaLcu in giuups un me liuui KjL me nuisL venue, wun me scnoois 
meeting the highest percentage of its targets seated closest to the 
stage. Schools that do not make the floor are seated in bleachers 
or other remote seating. 


Meets, exceeds 


Rp/TPT^ tn 3 TTIPaQI lTPTYl Pflt 1K115i11v PvnrpcsPfl n r\f*rr'ant'ifTa /-a-F 
ivuilm mj a iiicasui v/iiiciiL, usually CApiCbsCU do d, pel Ccllldgc, 01 

students who "met" or "exceeded" state standards in certain core 
curriculum subjects (math, reading, English/language arts, 
science and social students^ as mpfwnrpH hv thp PRPT 


Monitors 


Persons assigned to a school to observe test administration 
procedures; e.g. test distribution, test collection, storage of test 
materials. Observes testing sites to see that schedules are being 
followed, reports unusual activity. 


OTR 


APS Office of Internal Resolution/Employee Relations. 

PrOHP.SSPS fITlH ItlVPStl OSlfP^ (TifYirumnf'C ClTirl r*»r\r*rtc nf pmnL-nroa 
x iw^wj^a cuiu in v eoLigeilt-a uuilipicuillb allu lcUUILo UI employee 

wrongdoing and related employment matters. 


P arap r o/p araprofessi onal 


A person who may have less than professional-level certification, 
who relates in role and function to a professional and does a 
puLLiuu ui liic piuicboioiiai b jod unuer me proressionai s 
supervision, and whose decision-making authority is limited and 
regulated by the professional. O.C.G.A. § 20-2-204. Georgia 
paraprofessionals must be certified by the PSC 


PDP 


PrnTPSlif^TlJl 1 n^vplrvnTn pnt Plan A r\1an Ao\7f±\r\r%aA nn^ 
j. i uicaaiunaJ L/cvciupiiiCllL I: lall, rx piall UtJVclOpcU anQ 

implemented to correct perceived deficiencies in performance of 
teachers and administrators, used to encourage and support 
improvement in specific areas. 


PEC 


xiu^iain LKji ji/A.ucpiiuiiai v^niiuren. ± rogram orrenng specialized, 
educational testing, evaluation and other services to eligible 
children with certain disabilities or impairments. Each eligible 
student must have an IEP. 


Preponderance of the evidence 


A standard of proof in civil cases. Evidence which is of greater 
weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in 
opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the 
fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. 


Proctors 


Persons assigned to monitor classrooms or other specific areas 
during testing; circulate to observe students and discourage 
misconduct; assist test examiner to maintain testing security; 
report unusual activity or irregularities. 



348 



Prompting 


Assisting students during testing by use of verbal or nonverbal 
cues. Examples include voice inflection, pointing to answers, 
repetition or rephrasing of words or passages, physical cues, 
movements, sounds, or signals meant to suggest or convey the 
answer or encourage students to erase and change an answer. 


PSC 


Georgia Professional Standards Commission. A state agency 
created "to set and aDDlv hish standards for the nrenaration 
certification, and continued licensing of Georgia public 
educators." The PSC also handles the investigation and due 
process of cases referred for disciplinary action. 


RD 


Reading 


RPA 


APS' Department of Research, Planning and Accountability. 
Among other functions, RPA manages and oversees all testing 
programs at APS. 


Social promotion 


The practice of promoting a student from one grade level to the 
next on the basis of age rather than academic achievement. 


SRTs 


School Reform Teams. APS is organized into four (4) 
lieoiiraohicallv aliened areas comnrised of elementary and miHHIp 
schools, each headed by an executive director. The structure is 
meant to provide greater accountability and faster service to 
schools and parents. 


Standard deviation 


A measure of the variability or dispersion of a distribution of 
scores that represents the average difference between individual 
scores and the mean. The more the scores cluster around the 
mean, the smaller the standard deviation. 


Student level data 


CRCT erasure analysis data for each individual student for each 
subject tested (RD, EL A, MA) showing the total number of 
erasures made on that test, and the number of those erasures that 
changed from wrone to rimit 


Stray marks 


Pencil markings made on answer sheets that are visible outside of 
the "bubble" or oval area where answer choices are to be marked. 


Targets 


An accountability program implemented by APS, consisting of 

oiy vvi i i w L/viiv/i iiiuiiL w o OwL i vv i 1 o v/1 1 yjl <Xi> ULi-V' U LilllJliJlLi \J1. 

the school year. The targets are based on quantifiable measures, 
orimarilv CRCT test scores and also include fartnrs <mrh a«? 
student attendance, and enrollment in rigorous academic courses. 


Testing accommodation 


A change in a test administration that modifies how a student 
takes or responds to the assessment. Accommodations are 
designed to provide equity and serve to level the playing field for 
students with disabilities and English Language Learners. 


Totality of the evidence 


Finding or conclusion based on all of the circumstances of a 
particular case, rather than any one factor. 


WTR 


Wrong To Right = an incorrect answer choice is erased and 
changed to a correct answer choice on an answer sheet, as 
detected by erasure analysis using high speed optical scanners. 



349 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 
Volume 3 



3^0 

Questions 

. . 350 

Why Cheating Occurred 

.350 



Targets 

Culture of Fear 

.357 

Dr. Jackie Boyce 



...... i. 







IMltlilllllK 



359 

Jimmye Hawkins 

361 

Michael Milstead • 



361 

Former High-Level Official 

Patrick Crawford. 



*»•• 



• 



........ i 



Santhia Curtis 363 

365 



Teachers 

Ethics 3 

366 

Early Warnings 

368 

Allegations of Cover-Up 

Q O 

Parks Middle School . 



369 

Investigation at Parks 

Meeting with Senior Leadership 



371 

u 1 a 



374 

Retaliation by Waller J 

374 

Dramatic Gains at Parks ■ 

378 

Deerwood Academy J/ 

Alteration and Destruction of Documents 383 



fM M i tta i ilia i »t r. ■.*•§#■ I titi 1 1 it .•-».»■ ••* I 



Media Request for Porter Report 

APS Reaction to GOSA 

Blue Ribbon Commission 392 



■ •*»*»■•■■•*■#■ I * « 1 •■«««■ I * • ...... r ■■•••■•«■•*■ < » • * • * mat 

KPMG and APS Interviews 396 

APS Response to BRC Report 

IKIimUlKH llfMII)l<lttllll»lll>lllft1IIM<1ll J/U 

The Business Community.. 

> imilniiniiiiiiiii.il ■■iiiiii<iiiiiaiiiKMii«IIMIMIIItll 401 

Findings IHtltMttll • H.imiMHllHI IMllltllltllllMlllliltltlllKIMlllllllKlllI II M IM I I I M I I I I I I I iT 

Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams , 406 

Michael Pitts 406 

Tamara Cotman , 407 



»••••. ItMllllHKMlMMMII) * (tlllllllll ItillltiT 1 

Millicent Few 408 

Dr. Kathy Augi I^JLIIIL/., . . . | . * * . • 1 . . *«'«'■ (MMIIMIII llMttlllMIMl 1 PIMIMIIIIIHIIIIIIIITVQ 

Dr. Beverly Hall.-., .. 409 

» ■■•IMIIMMHIIMII KIOHl ..11. 



QUESTIONS 

Without question, cheating occurred in APS on the CRCT in 2009 and 
previous years. The erasure analysis is no longer a mere red flag, but is supported 
by confessions and other evidence of cheating in 78.6% of the elementary and 
middle schools we investigated. We now address the questions: Why did cheating 
occur at APS, atid who knew about it? 

WHY CHEATING OCCURRED 

Three primary conditions led to widespread cheating on the 2009 CRCT: 

• The targets set by the district were often unrealistic, especially 
given their cumulative effect over the years. Additionally, the 
administration put unreasonable pressure on teachers and 
principals to achieve targets; 

• A culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation spread throughout 
the district; and, 

• Dr. Hall and her administration emphasized test results and 
public praise to the exclusion of integrity and ethics. 

TARGETS 

The unreasonable pressure to meet annual "targets" was the primary 
motivation for teachers and administrators to cheat on the CRCT in 2009 and 
previous years. Virtually every teacher who confessed to cheating spoke of the 
inordinate stress the district placed on meeting targets and the dire consequences 
for failure. Dr. Hall articulated it as: "No exceptions. No excuses." If principals 
did not meet targets within three years, she declared, they will be replaced and "I 
will find someone who will meet targets." Dr. Hall replaced 90% of the principals 



350 



during her tenure. Principals told teachers that failure to improve CRCT scores 
would result in negative evaluations or job termination. The unambiguous 
message was to meet targets by any means necessary. 

We do not express any opinion as to the merits of targets. However, targets 
were implemented by APS in such a way that teachers and administrators believed 
that they had to choose between cheating to meet targets or failing to meet targets 
and losing their jobs. 

When Dr. Beverly Hall became superintendent in 1999, she implemented 
many new programs and educational strategies. Dr. Hall managed the district by 
relying heavily upon data, as opposed to being a hands-on leader. In this regard, 
she implemented the "target" program, which held teachers and principals 
responsible for student achievement. These targets were used to quantify 
expectations so that academic progress was measurable, based primarily on the 
prior years' CRCT results. 

The major difference between APS targets and AYP standards is that under 
the target system, a school is not only required to move students from the bottom 
to the middle (i.e., from the "not meets" standards to the "meets" standards 
category on the CRCT), but schools are also required to move students from the 
middle to the top (i.e., from "meets" standards to "exceeds" standards). In this 
way, a school must focus on improving achievement for both lower performing 
and higher performing students. 



351 



Targets are set annually by the APS administration and approved by the 
Board of Education. The administration, with assistance from an outside 
consultant, sets these targets for the district, every school and each grade. The 
administration notifies the schools of their targets in terms of a percentage. For 
example, one target at a school might be to increase the percentage of students 
"exceeding" standards in math by 3%, while at the same time reducing the number 
of students "not meeting" math standards by 2%. This allows each teacher in 
every classroom to know exactly how many students must "meet" or "exceed" the 
target objective. 

Low-performing schools are required to improve by a greater margin each 
year than higher-performing schools. Thus, a higher burden is placed upon the 
lower-performing schools. 

As schools achieve their targets, the next year, the targets increase. For 
example, if 60% of last year's fourth grade students met expectations in math on 
the CRCT, then this year that target might increase to 63%. Targets are set based 
upon the previous year's group of students. According to teachers and 
administrators, this element of targets, combined with the fact that the targets 
increase every year, makes them unreasonable. For instance, if last year's fourth 
graders were mostly high-performing students, but the fourth grade class this year 
contains more low performers, the fourth grade targets are still set based on last 
year's high performing students' scores. Teachers and administrators we 



352 



interviewed consistently referred to this as "comparing apples to oranges" rather 
than "apples to apples." 

Schools that meet 70% of their targets receive bonuses for every employee, 
from bus drivers to the principal. These bonuses range from $50 to $2000 per 
person, depending on what percentage of the targets the school as a whole 
achieves. Dr. Hall stood to financially gain based on whether the district met 
targets. Over the years, she received tens of thousands of dollars based on the 
reported CRCT results. 

Schools that meet targets will "make the floor" at Convocation, the district's 
annual, system-wide celebration held at the Georgia Dome to recognize schools 
that make targets and improve CRCT scores. Attendance by all faculty and 
administrators is mandatory. Faculty at schools that hit targets sit "on the floor." 
Those that do not make targets are relegated to sit in the uppermost sections of the 
Dome. Throughout this investigation, it became clear that for many in the district, 
especially principals, it was extremely important to "make the floor." 

On the other hand, if a school fails to meet targets, its principal and teachers 
are likely to be placed on a professional development plan (PDP) and receive 
negative performance evaluations. Some are terminated. Student achievement 
comprises 25% of principals' evaluations, the single heaviest weighted item. Dr. 
Hall made it clear that if within three years a school does not meet targets, then she 
will replace the principal with someone who will. Principals put the same pressure 

353 



on teachers to meet targets by placing teachers on PDPs, publicly humiliating 
them, or threatening termination. The PDP is supposed to be a tool for helping 
teachers and principals improve areas of weakness. Instead, the PDP became a 
weapon to punish and threaten teachers for having low test scores. The message 
heard by teachers and principals was that the only way out of a PDP was to 
increase test scores. 

We repeatedly heard from teachers, principals and Dr. Hall, that APS is a 
"data driven system." Almost without exception, teachers and principals said that 
the single most important factor to this administration is "data." They said that 
"data is the driver," "data drives instruction," and "the data controls everything " 
We heard this system-wide mantra from virtually every witness. 

Data can be properly used as a tool to assess academic progress. But data 
can also be used as an abusive and cruel weapon to embarrass and punish 
classroom teachers and principals or as a pretext to termination. After hundreds of 
interviews, it has become clear that Dr. Hall and her staff used data as a way to 
exert oppressive pressure to meet targets. 

When principals, in groups of 10 to 12, met annually with Dr. Hall, each 
school's scores were displayed on large colorful graphs framed and hung on the 
wall around her conference room. During the meeting, Dr. Hall would ask each 
principal, one by one, "are you going to meet targets this year?" No one dared tell 
her "no." 



354 



Many principals humiliated teachers in front of their peers for failing to meet 
targets. For example, at Fain Elementary School, the principal forced a teacher to 
crawl under a table in a faculty meeting because that teacher's students' test scores 
were low. In other schools, principals told teachers that if they could not meet 
targets or AYP, they might be subject to disciplinary action or they should find 
another profession. Administrators used these types of tactics even though they 
knew, as they told us, that the targets set for the schools were unreasonable. 

The monetary bonus for meeting targets provided little incentive to cheat. 
But fear of termination and public ridicule in faculty and principals meetings drove 
numerous educators to cross ethical lines. Further, because targets rose annually, 
teachers found it increasingly difficult to achieve them. After a few years of 
increases, teachers found the targets unattainable and resorted to cheating. 
Multiple years of test misconduct in the district compounded the level of cheating 
that was required annually to not only match the prior year's false scores but also 
to surpass them. The gap between where the students were academically and the 
targets they were trying to reach grew larger. 

The cumulative effect of cheating over a decade on the CRCT made meeting 
targets more difficult with each passing year. To maintain the gains of the past 
years while achieving the target of the current year required more cheating than in 
prior years. Once cheating started it became a house of cards that collapsed upon 
itself. 



355 



APS is indeed a "data driven system/ 7 and whether or not a school meets 
targets is the most important data of all. What has become clear through our 
investigation is that ultimately, the data, and meeting "targets" by whatever means 
necessary, became more important than true academic progress. 

Pressure to meet targets and improve students' CRCT scores was the single, 
most frequent explanation given by teachers for why they cheated. Most teachers, 
and many principals, described an oppressive environment at APS where the entire 
focus of the district had become achieving test scores rather than teaching children. 
Incremental, yearly progress by students was not enough unless the school met 
targets. Individual student progress was not as important as the school, as a whole, 
increasing its overall CRCT scores. In the end, meeting targets became more about 
the adults than the children. 

CULTURE OF FEAR 

Dr. Hall and her top staff created a culture of fear, intimidation and 

retaliation, which was usually enforced on principals and teachers by some of the 
SRT executive directors. Many witnesses said that after reporting cheating, or 
some other misconduct, they became the subject of an investigation and were 
disciplined. 

This culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation has infested the district, 
allowing cheating — at all levels — to go unchecked for years. Those who dared to 



356 



report misconduct in the district were held in contempt and punished. For 
example: 

Dr. Jackie Boyce 

Dr. Boyce worked for six years as a learning technology specialist in SRT-1, 
which includes most of southwest Atlanta. He was assigned to monitor the 
administration of the 2009 CRCT at Perkerson Elementary School, as he had done 
for three previous years. Because of the small class sizes at this school, test 
monitors did not remain in one classroom, but moved around the school. Several 
times during the 2009 testing, Dr. Boyce says he observed teacher Lashaine Blake, 
and others, improperly pointing out answers to students. 

Dr. Boyce reported his observations to the principal, Dr. Mable Johnson, on 
two occasions, but says she "blew [him] off" Boyce also wrote notations about 
what he saw on the standardized test feedback form, the state-required document 
filled out at the end of each day's testing. He gave the form directly to Dr. Sharon 
Davis- Williams, Executive Director of SRT-1. Dr. Davis-Williams did not ask 
Boyce any details about the teachers' inappropriate conduct, nor did she tell him to 
report his observations to anyone else. Instead, Davis-Williams gave Boyce blank 
forms and directed him to fill them out again without the notations about teachers 
pointing out answers. She told Boyce that he could not write about what he saw on 
the forms because "they are subject to the open records act." Davis-Williams kept 
both the original and "corrected" forms. 



357 



During that same testing period in 2009, Dr. Boyce also worked at Herndon 
Elementary. While Dr. Boyce was in the classroom of Yolanda Coleman, she 
stepped into the hallway to speak with Dr. Betty Tinsley, the principal. As he 
watched her class, Dr. Boyce spoke with the students and asked how they 
performed on the CRCT. Several of the students shouted out that the teacher, Ms. 
Coleman, had given them the answers. One child, who according to Boyce 
apparently wanted to protect the teacher, said, "no, she was just giving us 
examples" of test questions. 

When Dr. Boyce told Ms. Coleman what her students said about the CRCT 
answers, she became angry and accused Dr. Boyce of coercing the students to say 
she cheated. Dr. Boyce also spoke to Principal Tinsley and explained to her what 
happened. She stated she would deal with it. 

Dr. Boyce was summoned to meet the next day with his immediate 
supervisor, Dr. Tinsley, and SRT Executive Director Sharon Davis-Williams. 
Davis-Williams accused Boyce of coercing children to say a teacher cheated, and 
informed Boyce that she would be investigating him. Ultimately, Dr. Davis- 
Williams gave Boyce a reprimand to be placed in his personnel file. (Ex. 11). In 
this memorandum, the cheating allegations against the teacher were noted as 
"unfounded." Boyce refused to sign the document because it was erroneous. He 
was sanctioned for reporting possible cheating, while the accused teacher was 



358 



cleared by the SRT executive director without a proper inquiry, and in violation of 
APS policies. 

Jimmy e Hawkins 

On November 17, 2010, Ms. Jimmye Hawkins was serving as an interim 
principal at one of the "flagged" schools. Her immediate supervisor, Executive 
Director Tamara Cotman (SRT-4), held a principals' meeting, ostensibly to discuss 
teaching practices. Ms. Cotman began this meeting with a lengthy diatribe, 
bashing the Governor and this investigation. Cotman discussed the "tricks" she 
expected the investigators would use and warned the principals of things they 
needed to watch for in the event they were interviewed. Cotman then handed out 
forms with the words "Go to Hell" printed at the top. Cotman directed each 
principal to write letters to anyone for whom the principals felt animosity, 
including the Governor and the special investigators. She asked for volunteers to 
"read aloud" their "Go to Hell" notes. 

In December, APS received an anonymous complaint describing what 
occurred at this meeting. (Ex. 12). The district hired a local attorney to investigate 
this complaint. Ms. Hawkins was interviewed on January 25, 2011. Afterwards 
she wrote to Veleter Mazyck, APS General Counsel, expressing her fear of 
retaliation by SRT-4 Executive Director Cotman. Mazyck assured Hawkins that 
steps had been taken to protect her from retribution. (Ex. 13). However, within 
hours of Hawkins' interview, Cotman appeared at her school for a "site visit," 



359 



which culminated in a list of "concerns and recommendations." Additional site 
visits followed, all resulting in a list of alleged problems at Ms. Hawkins' school. 

On February 11, 2011, Cotnian demoted Hawkins from principal due to 
"poor performance," and moved her back to her previous position. Ms. Hawkins 
immediately called Mazyck and informed her that Cotman retaliated against her for 
providing information regarding the November 17, 2010 meeting. Ultimately, 
Hawkins was reinstated to the principal's position and Cotman was transferred out 
of SRT-4 pending further investigation, but not until the matter was reported in the 
local media. 

Ms. Cotman spoke with us concerning this matter. She said that the 
November 17, 2010, meeting was an ordinary principals' meeting and the "Go to 
Hell" memo was intended as a "stress relief tool." Cotman says she routinely 
began principals' meetings in tins manner. Cotman claimed that at the time Ms. 
Hawkins was demoted, she did not know that Hawkins had been interviewed as 
part of that investigation. Cotman says she began the process to demote Ms. 
Hawkins back in October 2010, and had been accumulating the appropriate 
documentation to take that action. The "site visits" in January and February 201 1, 
comprised the final steps in the removal process. 

Other attendees at the November 17th meeting supported Ms. Hawkins' 
version of the story. At the very least, the timing of Ms. Hawkins 5 mid-school year 



360 



"removal" was highly suspicious, coming so soon after she provided information 
unfavorable to Ms. Cotman. 

Michael Milstead 

Michael Milstead was the principal at Harper Archer Middle School from 
2006 until 2009. He noticed a discrepancy between students' high CRCT scores in 
elementary school and dieir poor academic performance. Many of these students 
were several grade levels behind academically, and Milstead soon suspected that 
some of these students had inflated CRCT scores. 

This achievement gap was such a problem that Mr. Milstead raised it in a 
May 2008 meeting and suggested that elementary and middle school principals 
should work together to resolve the problem. Executive Director Tamara Cotman 
later confronted Milstead about his comments. She told him that some of the 
principals were very upset about his statements with regard to the CRCT scores. 
Cotman berated Milstead for speaking out about these matters at the meeting. 

(We have heard the same concerns from scores of teachers regarding 
students' achievement not matching their high CRCT scores from prior years.) 

After Cotman informed him that his services would no longer be needed in 
the district, Michael Milstead resigned. 

Former High-Level Official 

On January 15, 2010, an attorney for a former high-ranking district official 
sent a letter to Dr. Hall alleging that APS retaliated against this official when the 



361 



official objected to unethical conduct by Chief Human Resources Officer Millicent 
Few. Specifically, this letter asserted that Ms. Few improperly ordered the 
destruction of all versions of an investigative report done by attorney Perni Payne 
widi regard to allegations of cheating during the administration of the summer 
2008 CRCT at Deerwood Academy. 

When the official objected to destroying these documents, this official 
believed he/she became the subject of a sham investigation based on a trumped-up 
complaint by a former employee whom APS had ordered the official to terminate. 
Aldiough APS denied retaliating against this official, the district paid over $30,000 
to settle the claim and $5,000 in attorney's fees. The charges in the letter are 
consistent with evidence we have obtained through other sources. 

While we have not independently investigated these charges, the timing of 
this official's termination is highly suspect, and provides validity to her claims. 
Even more suspicious is that APS investigated the allegations made against the 
official by a former employee, but never investigated the allegations in the January 
15, 2010 letter, that Millicent Few ordered the destruction of documents related to 
cheating. 

Patrick Crawford 

Patrick Crawford worked for APS from 1991 until June 30, 2010, when he 
was fired. He was a fixed assets accountant and one of his duties was to conduct 



362 



internal audits. He visited schools to perform spot checks for property that APS 
owned. 

Prior to 2008, the threshold for reporting and tracking equipment was $250, 
including computers regardless of value. In 2008, APS changed that threshold 
from $250 to $5,000. As a result, 129,000 pieces of equipment no longer had to be 
accounted for, most of which were computers and flat screen televisions. 

On April 22, 2010, Mr. Crawford submitted a report detailing 24 million 
dollars in fixed assets that were missing. That report also explained that APS had 
increased its threshold for reporting and tracking equipment to $5,000. Oti May 3, 
2010, Dr. Hall acknowledged receiving Mr. Crawford's report but disagreed with 
his conclusion. Four days later, Mr. Crawford, and the other two co-authors of the 
report, were placed on administrative leave and ultimately terminated. Crawford 
was told that his position was eliminated due to "budget constraints." He believed 
these terminations were a result of the report he submitted. 

Santhia Curtis 

Ms. Santhia Curtis served as Deputy General Counsel for APS from 2007 
until April 22, 201 1, when she was dismissed. Ms. Curtis supervised some of the 
legal staff at APS and never received negative evaluations or disciplinary actions 
regarding her job performance. She has an excellent reputation in the legal 
community. However, hi the months leading up to her termination, Ms. Curtis 



363 



engaged in two protected activities that she believes led General Counsel Veleter 
Mazyck, and others, to retaliate against her. (Ex. 14). 

hi October 2010, a member of the legal staff said that he had been 
discriminated against by the APS General Counsel. Ms. Curtis, as this employee's 
direct supervisor, reported these concerns to the Director of Human Resources. 
Because Ms. Mazyck was Ms. Curtis' immediate supervisor, Ms. Curtis also 
notified Mazyck of the complaint. Ms. Mazyck showed obvious displeasure and 
informed Ms. Curtis that it was inappropriate for her to have reported the 
allegations to the Director of Human Resources. 

An investigation into the discrimination complaint was completed in late 
January or early February, 201 1 . Contrary to APS investigative policies, however, 
no written report was issued. The internal investigator was told to report his 
findings back to the district through an oral report only. The file was closed on the 
investigation on April 15, 201 1 . One week later, APS fired Ms. Curtis. 

Veleter Mazyck met with us on May 18, 2011. During that interview, she 
stated that Ms. Curtis was terminated because APS was "eliminating the Deputy 
General Counsel position for budget considerations." However, Chuck Burbridge, 
APS 5 Chief Financial Officer, and the person with the greatest knowledge of the 
APS budget, said that he had "no idea" why Ms. Curtis had been terminated. He 
made no mention of budgetary concerns or her position having been eliminated. 



364 



TEACHERS 

The events discussed above are not isolated. Throughout this investigation 
numerous teachers told us they raised concerns about cheating and other 
misconduct to their principal or SRT executive director only to end up disciplined 
or terminated. 

In sum, a culture of fear, intimidation and retaliation permeated the APS 
system from the highest ranks down. Cheating was allowed to proliferate until, in 
the words of one former APS principal, "it became intertwined in Atlanta Public 
Schools ... a part of what the culture is all about." 

ETHICS 

Teachers and principals denied receiving any ethics training. Dr. Hall failed 
to balance the data-driven environment she created with an equal focus on the 
importance of integrity in achieving these goals, in fact, the opposite occurred. 
Teachers who conducted themselves ethically, but failed to achieve required 
results, were sanctioned. Those who reported unethical conduct often became a 
target of retaliation, intimidation and harassment. As a result of the APS failure to 
temper its drive for success with ethical guidelines, the message was: Get the 
scores up by any means necessary. Tn Dr. Hall's words: "No exceptions and no 
excuses." 



365 



EARLY WARNINGS 

Sudden and dramatic test score gains across schools and grade levels should 

have alerted Dr. Hall and her administration to investigate the cause of these shifts. 
We interviewed numerous teachers, principals and upper-level administrators, 
including superintendents of other districts, who reviewed the CRCT test score 
gains in APS. They universally agreed that such large gains over a short period of 
time should have been red flag warnings to APS administrators. As Dr. John 
Fremer of Caveon Test Security recently stated: "an individual student can exceed 
beyond their wildest dreams in any given year, but when a whole group shifts its 
position dramatically, you have to worry," (When Test Scores See m Too Good to 
Believe. USA Today, Mar. 6, 2011). 

As early as 2001, an AJC story questioned the gains posted by a number of 
APS schools in the 4th grade on the 2001 CRCT. (Ex. 15). The story reported that 
of the 68 APS elementary schools tested in 2001, almost half posted dramatic gams 
of 30 or more percentage points in one or more CRCT subjects at a grade level. 
Ten of those schools had gains of 40 or more percentage points. APS publicly 
defended the increases, attributing the sudden gams to improved teaching strategies 
and new instructional models. APS did not investigate whether cheating or other 
misconduct could have been the cause of these remarkable gains. 

These types of dramatic increases continued in the district over the next 
decade. We reviewed the CRCT results from 2004 to 2010 for all schools 



366 



currently under investigation. We found incredible swings in student performance 
for these years in many schools. For example: 

• From 2006-2007, the percentage of students "exceeding 
expectations" in English/language arts at Peyton Forest Elementary 
School climbed 51 percentage points, from 28% to 79%; 

• From 2004-2005, F.L. Stanton Elementary School posted a 42 
percentage point gain in the number of students "exceeding" 
standards in math; 

• From 2005-2006, all grades at Parks Middle School posted a 30.84 
percentage point increase in math; 

• From 2004-2005, all grades at East Lake Elementary School posted 
a 20.78 percentage point increase in math, a 20.23 percentage point 
increase in English/language arts, a 16.82 percentage point increase 
in reading; 

• From 2006-2007, Dunbar Elementary School posted a 20 percentage 
point gain in reading. By 2009, 88.26% were passing; 

• From 2006-2007, C.W. Hill Elementary School posted a 16 
percentage point increase in reading; 

• From 2007-2008, Benteen Elementary School posted a 16 
percentage point increase in reading; 

• From 2005-2006, Parks Middle School increased the percentage of 
students "exceeding expectations" in math by 21 percentage points; 

• From 2006-2007, Parks Middle School increased the number of 
students exceeding in English/language arts by 16 percentage points, 
followed by an additional gain of 19% the next year; 

• From 2007-2008, Parks Middle School increased its percentage of 
students "exceeding expectations" in reading by 22 percentage 
points; 

• From 2007-2008, East Lake Elementary School increased the 
percentage of children "exceeding expectations" in English/language 
arts by 22 percentage points and in reading by 26 percentage points. 



367 



The following year, East Lakes' percentage of students "exceeding 
expectations*' in math increased again by 17.86 percentage points; 
and 

• From 2007-2008, Benteen Elementary School increased its 
percentage of students "exceeding expectations" on the CRCT by 18 
percentage points. 

Throughout our investigation, numerous teachers, principals and former 
officials told us that gains such as these over a short period of time raised questions 
as to whether the test scores were genuine or achieved by cheating. Yet APS 
leadership never questioned or investigated these extraordinary increases to ensure 
that they were honestly achieved. 

ALLEGATIONS OF COVER-UP 

Dr. Hall and her senior cabinet received numerous reports of cheating. We 

found cheating allegations being made to top leadership in the district beginning as 
early as 2005, and continuing through this investigation. In many instances, those 
reports were ignored, superficially investigated, or hidden from view. 

Parks Middle School 

APS received three complaints of cheating and other improprieties 

concerning Parks Middle School and Principal Christopher Waller at the end of 
2005 and the beginning of 2006. Dr. Hall personally received the first complaint 
on December 22, 2005 from the Atlanta Federation of Teachers, and forwarded 
this complaint to Dr. Augustine and Millicent Few. (Ex. 16). 



368 



On January 13, 2006, Dr. Hall received a second complaint which was an 
anonymous letter. (Ex. 17). This letter alleged that Christopher Waller was 
manipulating the Supplemental Education Services after-school tutoring program 
(SES), which provided free services to certain students, paid for with federal 
money. The letter also described attempts by Principal Waller to "[p]ersuade 5 
intimidate and coerce teachers to cheat on the upcoming spring 2006 G.C.R.C.T." 

The third complaint letter alleged that Waller gave the eighth grade teachers 
a document entitled "Tips for Passing the 8th Grade Writing Test." (Ex. 1 8). The 
eighth grade students were allegedly given the "tips" and told to focus on question 
number seven, which was similar to the official question on the writing test. 
Question number seven on the "tips" asked students to think of a "rule" they 
thought was unfair, while the actual test question asked the students to think of a 
"law" diey thought was unfair. Teachers coached students to think about the 
question in terms of a "law," the exact question they were asked to write about. 
According to the complaint, Waller told his staff that elementary schools were 
cheating and that unless teachers at Parks cheated the school would continue to 
look bad. 

Investigation at Parks 

Damaris Perryman-Garrett, the head of OIR from June 2000 through June 

2007, supervised the investigation into Parks Middle School. She hired Reginal 



369 



Dukes to conduct an investigation of the complaints for APS. 1 Dukes conducted 
interviews at the beginning of 2006, and outlined his preliminary findings in a 
March memo. He wrote that the after-school tutorial program was being abused 
and the "[eighth] grade writing assessment may have been compromised after 
Waller persuaded, [or] coerced teachers to cheat on the test." (Ex. 19). Perryman- 
Garrett told us she remembered receiving Dukes' preliminary report, which 
confirmed some of the allegations made with regard to Mr. Waller. Despite the 
forewarning that cheating might occur, the district took no action to secure the 
upcoming CRCT testing environment with respect to the allegations made against 
Principal Christopher Waller. 

On May 5, 2006, Dukes sent APS a second report that confirmed the 
allegations the district had received in January 2006. (Ex. 20). 

Dukes found the following: 

• Three eighth grade teachers saw and received the writing tips; 

• Thirteen students he spoke to were aware of the tips and told 
Dukes they got them from their eighth grade language arts 
teachers; 

• Most students said they were directed to practice responding to 
question number seven; 

• Most students admitted that a very similar question was on the 
actual writing test; and, 

• Some students said they received the tips before Christmas, 
while others said they received them a week before the test. 



Dukes is a former client of Balch & Bingham LLP. 



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Dukes found: 

[W]e conclude that students were coached on the topics 
that were actually on the formal writing exam. The 
language arts teacher most mentioned in providing this 
information is no longer at the school. The investigation 
did not determine how he gained access to this 
information. We do also conclude that there is reason for 
concern about the securing of these tests before the exam 
at Parks Middle School. 

Dukes made further findings that should have raised questions about 
Principal Christopher Waller and his conduct. Specifically, Dukes' investigation 
revealed that student attendance data and grades were manipulated, and that the 
after-school tutorial services were mismanaged and money was misallocated. 

Meeting with Senior Leadership 

Dukes met with top APS officials to discuss his findings on Parks Middle 

School, and he recalled that Dr. Hall, Ms. Few, Ms. Perryman-Garrett and Dr. 
Augustine were in attendance. Dr. Hall, Few and Augustine all denied attending 
any meeting with Dukes. Dukes was positive these individuals were there, but said 
that Dr. Augustine was "in and out" of the meeting. Dukes' billing records show 
that he attended a meeting at APS headquarters building on May 10, 2006, and lists 
Dr. Hall, Few and SRT Executive Director Michael Pitts as being there. (Ex. 21). 

Ms. Perryman-Garrett remembered attending a meeting with Dukes 
regarding his Parks Middle School investigation. She specifically recalled Ms. 
Few being at this meeting and said that either Dr. Augustine or Michael Pitts, the 
SRT Executive Director over Parks Middle School, would have been there also. 



371 



Perryman-Garrett, who described Dr. Augustine to us as the "god-niother" of APS, 
said that everything had to be run past her. We have heard similar testimony about 
Augustine from several witnesses and according to Perryman-Garrett, it would 
have been likely for Augustine to have been at this meeting. 

Perryman-Garrett did not recall Dr. Hall being at the meeting, but told us 
she would not question Dukes' recollection of it. She described Dukes as 
"thorough and trustworthy" and she "assigned him the tough cases." 

Dukes said that during the meeting he handed a copy of his May 5, 2006 
report to Dr. Hall, but she never opened the report and did not read a single page 
while he was there. He explained his findings about the mishandling of the after- 
school tutorial program and improper accounting for student attendance at Parks 
Middle School. Dukes said Dr. Hall had a "glazed over" look as he was discussing 
his report. 

Dukes explained the cheating allegations and told the group that the only 
way the "tip sheet" could have been prepared was for someone to open a test 
booklet and see the specific subject about which the students were to write an 
essay. Christopher Waller was one of only two people with access to the test 
booklets. 

Dr. Hall wanted to know if Dukes had "any direct proof of cheating or 
whether anyone had confessed. He responded that there were no confessions, but 
that no one could explain where the writing tip came from. (Dr. Hall has stated 



372 



frequently that absent "any direct proof she would not believe that cheating had 
occurred.) Dukes was instructed to continue his inquiry. He completed his 
investigation on June 30, 2006. (Ex. 22). 

When we interviewed Dr. Hall, she denied attending a meeting with Dukes 
and said that once Christopher Waller arrived as principal, she only heard good 
things about Parks Middle School. Hall said she did not recall any concerns over 
how federal funds were being spent or allegations of cheating on the Eighth Grade 
Writing Test. Even if she was not at the meeting, Dr. Hall said she believes that 
her staff would have told her about the subjects discussed. Few and Augustine, 
who also denied being at the meeting, agreed that had they attended the meeting, 
they would have told Dr. Hall about the discussion. 

Despite these denials, Ms. Perryman-Garrett told us that one result of the 
Dukes investigation was that the company that provided after-school tutorial 
services at Parks Middle School, in which Principal Christopher Waller had a 
financial interest, was no longer allowed to do business with the district. This is 
strong evidence that action was taken as a result of Dukes' investigation and that 
APS was aware of what had happened at Parks. Dr. Kathy Augustine confirmed 
knowledge of the after-school program matter at Parks Middle School, and that a 
conflict actually existed and Waller was told to "stop." However, this matter is not 
mentioned in the principal's personnel file. Additionally, there is no evidence that 



373 



APS took any action with regard to the allegations of cheating and other 
misconduct of Principal Waller. 

Retaliation by Waller 

Dukes believed Principal Christopher Waller was attempting to determine 

the source of the complaints against him. Our investigation revealed that Tameka 

Butler Grant, a teacher at Parks Middle School, submitted the last two complaints 

against Waller. According to Ms. Grant, Christopher Waller told her that he was 

"going to get rid" of her. And at the end of the 2006 school year, he did. Grant 

was transferred to another school and ultimately terminated from the district. 

Waller also "got rid" of Kelley Collins and Fabiola Aurelien. Like Grant, 

Collins and Aurelien gave Dukes information supporting the allegations against 

Waller. Later, Principal Waller flaunted his removal of certain employees from the 

school, stating in an article published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation: 

If you have folks on the team who don't think you can 
win, you are in trouble .... So we had to get some 
people off the bus first. Then, we had to get the right 
people on the bus. 

(A copy of this article is attached to the Parks Middle School summary.) 

Dramatic Gains at Parks 

If the complaints of cheating on the 2006 Eighth Grade Writing Test were 

not enough to raise suspicions about cheating by Christopher Waller, beginning 

with the 2006 CRCT exam, Parks Middle School also had stunning increases in its 

scores on the CRCT. (Ex. 23). 



374 



• Comparing the 2005 and 2006 CRCT, the percentage of eighth 
graders passing reading increased 31 percentage points, 
climbing from 50% in 2005 to 81% in 2006. 

• In one year, the percentage of eighth graders passing in 
English/language arts increased by 27 percentage points, 
climbing from 54% to 81%. 

• In one year, the percentage of eighth graders passing in math 
increased by 62 percentage points, climbing from 24% to 86%. 

• In one year, the percentage of eighth graders exceeding 
expectations in math increased by 45 percentage points, from 
l%to 46%. 

One year gains of 31, 27, 62 and 45 percentage points should have raised 
suspicions for district administrators. This is particularly true since the district had 
been explicitly warned that the security of the Eighth Grade Writing Test had been 
breached. Dr. Hall told us that she would be suspicious of gains of this magnitude 
if she had been aware of a prior testing security breach. Nonetheless, she took no 
action when she learned of the implausible gains at Parks. Instead, Dr. Hall held 
up Parks and Waller as shining examples of APS progress. 

hi an article published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a private 
charitable organization that supports Parks Middle School, Dr. Hall is quoted as 
saying: 

When I can stand up in front of my principals and read 
the list of highest-performing schools in the district, a list 
that runs the gamut from schools in the highest income 
areas to schools in the lowest income areas, there are no 
excuses. 

Dr. Hall even praised Waller's management style: 



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You have to find someone who is able to lead.... That 
sounds vague, but they must be able to go in and, while 
not being a dictator, get people's attention and articulate 
a vision and mission in a way that people want to be on 
board with it.... 

The "progress" reported about Parks caused money to flow into Parks 
Middle School and to Waller's pocket. Gail Hayes, the executive director of the 
Atlanta office of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, said that sometime after 2006, 
Waller threatened to leave Parks Middle School. The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 
with the knowledge of Dr. Hall and others, interceded and contributed $10,000 to 
Waller, in addition to his salary. Ms. Hayes did not know about the Dukes 
investigation. Even though Ms. Hayes was on the Blue Ribbon Commission, she 
did not learn about the 2006 issues at Parks Middle School until our interview with 
her. Dr. Hall, and her administration, kept this information from the Foundation 
and Ms. Hayes. 

In 2008, Parks was the only middle school in the district to make 100% of its 
targets. This resulted in Principal Christopher Waller's collecting incentive 
payments, and additional payments went to members of the school staff. Dr. Hall 
lauded this "progress" to the Board of Education, noting that Parks Middle School 
was one of three schools receiving the district's "highest honors." Waller also 
received the Atlanta Family Award, resulting in several thousand dollars going to 
him personally. APS continued to tout Parks Middle School as an example of the 
success its reform models provided. 



376 



Dukes said that sometime in 2009, he was called by OIR Director Colinda 
Howard's assistant, YaQuanda Williams, asking for the reports on three different 
investigations he had completed because OIR could not locate the documents. In 
searching for his files, Dukes discovered that APS never paid him for the work he 
performed in 2006. Dukes took his copies of these reports to APS (including his 
Parks Middle School investigation) and requested a meeting with Howard with 
regard to his fee. The district paid Dukes in May 2009. 

On May 23, 2011, we served a subpoena on the district for all records 
regarding Dukes' investigation. One day later, Chief Human Resources Officer 
Millicent Few asked her assistant Nicole Lawson (now Director of OIR) to "close 
out" the 2006 Parks Middle School investigation. Lawson drafted a "note to the 
file," which closed the investigation, without either Lawson or Few reading the 
Dukes report. (Ex. 24). Lawson 's note made absolutely no sense whatsoever. 
This was one day after our subpoena, and five years after the district received 
Dukes' report. 

hi sum: 

• Dr. Hall, Dr. Augustine and Ms. Few all received complaints 
about cheating at Parks in 2006; 

• An investigation was started; 

• 'Hie investigator, Reginal Dukes, wrote, three reports of his 
findings, which confirmed the allegations; 

• APS did nothing about Parks Middle School for three years; 



377 



• Iii 2009, these reports could not be found in the district; 

• In 2009, Dukes resubmitted the reports, at the district's request; 
and 

• In 201 1 , after receiving our subpoena, APS "closed" the file. 
As a result of APS' failure to act on Dukes' report: 

• Christopher Waller, Parks Middle School's principal, remained 
in charge; 

• Waller removed those individuals he believed reported his 
improper conduct to APS officials; 

• Waller collected money and accolades for himself and the 
district based on false test results; and 

• Waller continued to orchestrate cheating on the CRCT test, at 
least until he was transferred to APS headquarters in 2009 as a 
result of the BRC report. 

Deerwood Academy 

In 2008, there were questions about 1 1 Deerwood Academy students' CRCT 

scores from the summer retest. Five schools sent students to Deerwood to retake 
the CRCT. When the scores were reported, the 11 Deerwood students' scores 
stood out as being statistically improbable. GOSA commissioned an erasure 
analysis, which revealed that those 11 students also had high WTR erasures. 
GOSA conducted its own preliminary investigation into the cause of the erasures, 
ultimately determining that the data collected overwhelmingly showed that 
someone changed the students' answers on the Fifth Grade Math Test at 
Deerwood. GOSA issued a preliminary report on this investigation in June 2009. 



378 



The district hired attorney Penn Payne to conduct an investigation. She 
concluded that no cheating had occurred at Deerwood Academy. However, APS 
had her make many changes to her report, which placed the district in a more 
favorable light. On July 2, 2009, while her investigation into the 2008 CRCT 
retest at Deerwood was still ongoing, Ms. Payne met with Dr. Kathy Augustine, 
Director of RPA Lester McKee, and Director of OIR Colinda Howard. There are 
differing accounts of the meeting. According to Ms. Payne, Dr. Augustine asked 
for this meeting in order to be briefed on the Deerwood matter. Kathy Augustine 
told us that Ms. Payne wanted to interview her, and at the end of the interview, she 
asked that Payne give her a brief overview of the Deerwood investigation. 
However, according to Ms. Payne, she neither asked to meet with Dr. Augustine, 
nor did she interview her at any time during the Deerwood investigation. 

When Payne and Colinda Howard arrived at the meeting, Lester McKee was 
present. Payne gave them an overview of the status of the investigation. Mr. 
McKee and Dr. Augustine presented Payne with a draft letter to GOSA Executive 
Director Kathleen Mathers, for the purpose of reporting on the Deerwood matter to 
the State. This document falsely claimed that Payne's investigation had been 
completed, and that no evidence of cheating had been found. 

Payne took a quick look at the draft and immediately told Dr. Augustine, 
McKee and Howard that the letter was not correct, as her investigation was not 
complete. Ms. Payne had not yet reached a conclusion as to what had transpired at 



379 



Deerwood. In fact, she was still attempting to interview key witnesses. Payne said 
that she would review the letter more closely that evening and then email her 
comments to both McKee and Augustine. Augustine gave Payne her private email 
address. 

That evening, Payne carefully reviewed the letter and suggested changes, 
specifically noting the parts of the letter that incorrectly stated that her 
investigation was complete and that no cheating had been found. Payne then 
emailed the revised version of the letter to McKee and Augustine. (Ex. 25). Payne 
heard nothing further about the letter until later. 

Unknown to Ms. Payne, on July 6, 2009, Dr. Hall signed the letter without 
Ms. Payne's suggested changes. (Ex. 26). It was not until a yea:* later, in 2010, 
when Payne began preparing to testify at a PSC hearing related to Deerwood 
Academy, that she saw a copy of Dr. Hall's July 6, 2009, letter. Payne's response 
upon reading the letter: "Oh Shit." She realized that, in spite of her verbal and 
written warnings to McKee and Augustine that the investigation was not complete, 
they had allowed the false and misleading letter to be sent to Kathleen Mathers, 
executive director of GOSA. 

Contrary to what Payne told both McKee and Augustine at the meeting, and 
in her later email, Hall's letter to GOSA claimed that, "the portion of that 
investigation focusing on the 'cheating charge 5 is completed and concludes that 
there is no evidence, no basis in fact, that someone actually altered students' 



380 



answers/ 5 This was a false statement, and both McKee and Augustine knew it. It 
became crucial for Dr. Hall, and her top leadership, that Payne's findings match 
the results that Dr. Hall had falsely reported in her letter to GOS A. 

Payne did not submit her report to the district until nine days later on July 
1 5 5 2009. At the time Payne submitted this report, she believed it to be the "final" 
report. However, that evening, she received an email from Colinda Howard asking 
Payne to make specific revisions to the document. Payne made the revisions, as 
requested, and resubmitted the report. Again, Ms. Payne believed it to be her final 
report. But that was not the case. 

School officials kept asking Ms. Payne for more changes and additions to 
the report. Ms. Payne revised her report at least three more times before APS 
ultimately accepted it as "final" on August 20, 2009. 

Once Payne's initial Deerwood Academy report of July 15, 2009 was 
submitted to APS General Counsel, Veleter Mazyck became more involved in the 
Deerwood matter, according to a confidential informant. The informant says that 
as Ms. Mazyck's involvement increased, the involvement of OIR decreased, and 
Ms. Mazyck took control over the final report. The week that the Penn Payne 
report was finally released, Ms. Mazyck told our informant that she had "spent all 
weekend working on the Penn Payne report " 

The confidential informant, who worked closely with OIR and was in a 
position to know the events of that time, has provided information on a number of 



381 



matters which we have verified through other sources. This informant told us that 
once the final Deerwood report was accepted by APS, it was considerably 
'"watered down" from Payne's original version. Chief Human Resources Officer 
Millicent Few illegally ordered all other versions from Payne be destroyed, except 
for the final version, dated August 20, 2009. 

We received several editions of Payne's report from the district. However, 
many of the earlier versions were missing, which is consistent with what the 
informant told us. When we first interviewed Ms. Payne on February 22, 2011, 
she was subpoenaed to produce all of her records on the Deerwood investigation. 
But when interviewed again on June 10, 201 1 , she provided additional documents 
that she had discovered the day before on her computer. Among these records 
were other versions of her report and various communications with APS. These 

versions had not been produced to us by the district, even though we had requested 

» 

(via subpoena) all such records. 

We find that the information provided by our confidential informant is 
correct and that Chief Hurnan Resources Officer Millicent Few illegally ordered 
the destruction of prior versions of Perm Payne's report. We also believe that Dr. 
Augustine knowingly allowed Dr. Hall to sign a letter to GOSA regarding the 
Deerwood investigation that was false, with intent to mislead the state as to the 
status of that case. Moreover, the district's repeated requests for revisions of 



382 



Payne's report were an interference with, and manipulation of, what was to be an 
indepen dent inve stigati on . 

Alteration and Destruction of Documents 
The Parks and Deerwood investigations were not the last time the district 

would try to hide, minimize or keep secret, evidence of cheating. According to a 
confidential informant in 2009, when the AJC requested OIR complaints related to 
testing misconduct, APS Chief Human Resources Officer Millicent Few instructed 
OIR personnel to destroy documents, while illegally withholding other records 
from production. 

In the spring of 2009, an AJC reporter submitted an open records act request 
to APS for "all OIR complaints involving testing misconduct" in APS for the 06- 
07, 07-08, and 08-09 school years. (Ex. 27). These complaints were maintained 
on a computer log kept by OIR to indicate open investigations, including those 
regarding testing misconduct. OIR personnel reviewed that log to identify files 
that alleged testing misconduct and ordered that the responsive documents be 
retrieved. When OIR gathered the files, some of the documents listed on the log 
were missing. 

Although OIR has its own director and staff, it is directly under the control 
of Millicent Few. When Ms. Few learned that certain OIR files were missing, she 
directed OIR personnel to create a separate list of files from the computer log, and 



383 



to omit those files that could not be found. The original log was directly 
responsive to the AJC's records request and was illegally withheld. 

Ms. Few reviewed the various OIR files that had been assembled and 
according to an informant, decided not to produce a number of them. Ms. Few 
ordered that those files also be omitted from the incorrect list being prepared for 
production to the AJC. According to an informant, strong disagreement was 
voiced with Ms. Few regarding this matter and she was told: "We can't do that. 
Under the open records act this is not proper," and "this will not work." In spite of 
those concerns, Few issued her directive: "this is what I want and this is what you 
are going to do " Ms. Few illegally ordered the old case log destroyed. An OIR 
secretary prepared the revised list, which was provided to the AJC in response to 
the open records act request in May 2009. (Ex. 28). 

When the AJC received the district's response, the reporter reviewed the 
files and found the list to be incomplete. The reporter knew certain complaints had 
been omitted from the APS list because of information she had obtained from other 
sources. The AJC raised questions with the district regarding the missing files and 
specifically asked that the records be provided. Production of the files took several 
months and the reporter began to raise more questions. By late August 2009, the 
reporter noted in an email communication to APS: "I am also growing more 
concerned that I have not received all testing misconduct complaints that should 



384 



have been provided under state law." (Ex. 29). APS finally produced the files 
with the exception of several documents that allegedly could not be found. 

During our investigation, Ms. Few denied altering or destroying documents, 
or ordering anyone to do so. However, we verified the information provided by 
the confidential informant through several sources. According to the informant, 
APS improperly withheld these documents because the files made the district "look 
bad" since APS "either did a poor job in investigating the matter or gave a very 
minimal sanction for the wrongdoing." 

Porter and Reeves Reports 

In the fall of 2009, more allegations of cheating at some schools at APS 

emerged. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution published an article that raised 

questions about extraordinary gains in CRCT scores at some APS schools. (Ex. 

30). Specifically, the AJC hired a statistician to study third, fourth and fifth grade 

scores on reading, English/language arts and math. The article said ten schools in 

the district posted what the AJC determined to be improbable gains in certain 

grades and subject areas and suggested that cheating could be one explanation for 

the jumps in scores in these schools. 

The results were reported by the AJC in terms of raw test scores, not 

percentages. Some of these questionable results included: 

• In 2008, Peyton Forest's third grade math results were among 
the lowest in the state. However, as fourth graders in 2009, 



385 



these same students had the fourth highest math scores, out of 
nearly 1,200 elementary schools statewide; 

• In 2008, West Manor's fourth grade math scores ranked 830 th . 
Yet in 2009, West Manor achieved the highest scores in the 
state. West Manor's fourth grade average math score increased 
90 points, six times the average increase; 

• In 2008, Toomer Elementary fourth grade students posted the 
highest English/language arts scores in the state, only to see 
their scores plummet by 58 points as fifth graders in 2009. 

Several experts, including Walt Haney of Boston College, told the AJC that 
"[cjhanges of that magnitude are just extremely suspicious." As for Toomer 
Elcmcntary's drop in performance, Tom Haladyna, a professor emeritus at Arizona 
State University, said that researchers rarely see such a steep drop. According to 
experts in testing, precipitous drops in scores can be indicative of cheating on the 
prior year's test. Once again, the district defended the results and relied on 
alternative factors to explain them, including high student turnover rates, 
instructional practices and smaller class sizes. 

In a public response to the AJC's article, Dr. Hall announced that she would 
be luring two experts to look into these test scores — Dr. Douglas Reeves, an expert 
on instruction and education reform, and Dr. Andrew Porter, Dean of the Graduate 
School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania. In a district news release, 
Dr. Hall said that both Porter and Reeves were going to inform the district in 
separate reports whether the large gains or declines in student testing are the result 



386 



of "[f|actors not considered in recent news reports" and that both reports would be 
made public. (Ex.31). 

Dr. Douglas Reeves was expected to evaluate instructional practices and 
strategies in the twelve schools identified by the AJC and tell APS whether those 
practices could lead to the achievement reflected by the test results. Dr. Hall told 
us that she thought Reeves had observed classrooms to see if there was evidence of 
appropriate instructional practice. She also said she thought he worked hi the 
district for about two weeks. 

Reeves' report clearly set out the limitations of his work, which are not 
consistent with what Dr. Hall told us. (Ex. 32). In actuality, Reeves spent only 
thirty to forty-five minutes in each school and did not observe any classroom 
instruction during his visit, completing his assessment in just two days. Dr. 
Reeves' report, based only on interviews and no classroom observations, was 
positive for the district. He further said he would be surprised if scores did not 
increase based on these practices. APS publicized that report and posted it on the 
district's website. 

A second APS expert, Dr. Andrew Porter, conducted a statistical analysis 
using the same information as the AJC and produced results almost identical to the 
newspaper's unfavorable analysis. Dr. Porter looked at the AJC's statistical 
methodology to determine whether it was valid, and whether there were alternative 
explanations for the gains reported, other than cheating. He ultimately concluded 



387 



that while the results of his analysis did not prove cheating, they did "point to 
student achievement gains and losses that are highly unusual and for which 
cheating could be one explanation." Porter presented no other explanation for the 
gains. 

The initial draft of Porter's report went to Dr. Hall on February 22, 2010 
(Ex. 33). Superintendent Hall, Dr. Kathy Augustine and others had a 
teleconference with Porter in which they discussed his findings. Porter's final 
report, dated May 11, 2010, was sent directly to Dr. Hall by email on May 18, 
201 0. (Ex. 34). His final report restated the conclusions he reached in his previous 
drafts. Dr. Hall acknowledged receipt of the email the next morning, and indicated 
that she would read the report and get back with Porter. She never got back to 
Porter, and Dr. Hall claimed she deleted this report from her computer. 

Unlike the favorable Reeves' report, and contrary to Dr. Hall's stated intent, 
the district did not make Porter's report available to the public. APS publicly used 
Reeves' report as a defense to allegations of cheating, while Drs. Hall and 
Augustine claimed not to realize the limited scope of his review. 

Hall and Augustine acknowledged that Dr. Reeves could not have conducted 
a true assessment of APS' instructional practices in two days, without classroom 
observations and other more detailed work. Nevertheless, when Reeves' report 
was received, APS released the report as support for the district's test score gains, 
while making no public mention of the Porter report. 



388 



Media Request for Porter Report 

On July 19, 2010, two months after Dr. Hall received the Porter report, the 

AJC sent an open records request to the district asking for "[t]he report compiled 
by Andrew Porter, Dean of the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of 
Education, concerning CRCT results." (Ex. 35). Sharron Pitts contacted both Dr. 
Kathy Augustine and Dr. Hall regarding this request. Pitts was told by them that 
they did not have the report. (Ex. 36). 

A district official responded to the AJC saying "[a] copy of the Porter report 
does not exist in the district." (Ex. 37). Shortly thereafter, the district told the AJC 
that the requested information was in the possession of AEF: "[t]he Porter report 
is included in the Blue Ribbon Commission's investigative materials, so it will not 
be released until die report is released on August 2nd " The AJC did not challenge 
the APS response at that time, but the Porter report was not released or mentioned 
in the BRC findings. 

On November 19, 2010, the AJC filed a complaint with the State Attorney 
General, regarding APS' failure to provide Porter's report pursuant to a records 
request. On December 6, 2010, the AJC sent another request asking APS to 
provide copies of all materials that the district had provided to us. (Ex. 38). 
Deputy Superintendent Kathy Augustine claimed that while searching for records 
responsive to the AJC's December request — five months after the AJC asked for 



389 



Porter's report — she discovered an "unopened email in the archives" of her 
computer containing a copy of Porter's second draft. (Ex. 39). 

After we met with Dr. Hall in May 2011, her lawyers wrote to provide 
clarification on the issues surrounding Porter's report. (Ex. 40). Her legal team 
attempted to separate Dr. Hall from the report and asserted that there was no 
legitimate basis upon which to conclude that she acted improperly. 

To be clear, however, it was Dr. Hall who decided to use the services of Dr. 
Porter to evaluate the AJC's work, held him out as the expert, participated in a 
telephone conference regarding his study, proclaimed his report would be made 
public, received a copy of his report, deleted it from her computer, and allowed 
APS to falsely claim that a copy of the report was not in the district. There is 
sufficient evidence that both Hall and Augustine did not properly maintain this 
public document and illegally withheld its release. 

APS REACTION TO GOSA 

As with previous responses of APS to cheating allegations, the district's first 

reaction to the 2009 GOSA erasure analysis was to try and explain it away. The 
day after Kathleen Mathers, Executive Director of GOSA, met with Dr. Beverly 
Hall and other top APS officials regarding the GOSA erasure analysis, Governor 
Perdue called Dr. Hall. The Governor told Dr. Hall that he was comfortable with 
the GOSA analysis and that APS should not question the state study. He further 
said that "the time for data analysis [was] over and an investigation should begin." 



390 



Dr. Hall agreed, but told Governor Perdue that APS already determined some 
classrooms were flagged based on disabled students' tests. But at the time Dr. Hall 
made this declaration, GOSA had not yet given Dr. Hall, or APS, the student-level 
information from which Hall could have drawn such a conclusion. 

Following this meeting with GOSA, APS generated its own analysis, 
purportedly to help them better understand the GOSA erasure data. Dr. Kathy 
Augustine directed Dr. Cari Ryan, a senior research associate with the APS 
Research, Planning and Accountability unit (RPA), to analyze the GOSA statistics. 
Dr. Ryan worked with Dr. Augustine and Lester McKee to create a chart that 
compared the 2008 CRCT scores to the 2009 scores. (Ex. 41). 

The APS assessment, as reflected in its chart, was not an analysis of the 
GOSA data, but an effort to disprove cheating. In contrast to the grade and 
teacher-specific erasure analysis, the APS chart reflected the "average" number of 
erasures above ten on each section of the test across an entire school. It then 
compared this information with 2008 and 2009 CRCT results to show that scores 
in many schools did not increase as a result of the erasures. Dr. Hall, Dr. 
Augustine, Jeffrey Schiller (an outside consultant), and others told us that they 
believed this chart showed cheating was not widespread. However, they 
acknowledged to us that if there was cheating in 2008, then the APS analysis 
meant nothing. 



391 



Shortly after Governor Perdue ordered APS to conduct an investigation, Dr. 
Hall called a meeting with the principals of the flagged schools and presented 
APS's internal chart. Remarkably, Dr. Hall and Dr. Augustine never showed the 
principals the teacher-specific GOSA erasure analysis. Instead, they offered their 
own interpretation of GOSA's data. In fact, no principal or SRT Executive 
Director we interviewed had seen GOSA's erasure analysis until we showed it to 
them. 

When we questioned Dr. Hall and Dr. Augustine about their failure to share 
the GOSA erasure analysis, they explained that because of the impending BRC 
investigation, they did not want to taint the investigation. Yet they had no concern 
about sharing the APS internal chart, which attempted to explain how the erasures 
were not the result of cheating. 

BLUE RIBBON COMMISSION 

As a result of the erasure analysis, Governor Sonny Perdue ordered the 35 

districts with flagged schools to conduct a qualitative investigation to determine 
the cause of such a high number of WTR erasures outside the expected norm. 
Thirty-three of the 35 districts performed adequate investigations, which met the 
Governor's mandate. APS did not. 

On February 12, 2010, GOSA issued its investigative guidelines, requiring 
APS to investigate all schools with more than 10% of the classrooms flagged and 
report to GOSA by May 14, 201 0. (Ex. 42). Within a day or two after the meeting 



392 



with GOSA, Dr. Hall determined an independent commission should conduct the 
investigation. The deadline was extended several times, and the report was 
submitted on August 2, 2010, 

The first outside entity considered by the district to assist the Governor- 
ordered investigation was the American Institutes of Research ("AIR"). Dr. Gary 
Phillips is a research scientist with AIR. APS unsuccessfully tried to convince 
Phillips that the GOSA erasure analysis did not indicate that there was widespread 
cheating on the 2009 CRCT. 

On February 28, 2010, Dr. Phillips met with Dr. Hall, Augustine, McKee, 
Schiller, APS Board Chair LaChandra Butler Burks, Bill McCargo of AEF and 
Renay Blumenthal of the Atlanta Metro Chamber. Several people who were in 
attendance at this meeting have told us that APS presented "chart after chart" 
focusing on demographic factors and test score changes over a few years. 
According to Ms. Blumenthal, Dr. Phillips challenged the APS data analysis, 
stating that it would be inaccurate to look at test score gains over a short period and 
learn anything. Mr. McCargo described the APS presentation as denying there was 
widespread cheating. After the meeting, Dr. Hall told Dr. Phillips that testing 
strategies used by APS might also explain the high WTR erasures. 

Dr. Phillips told Ms. Blumenthal that APS should audit the schools with 
"[t]he highest number of erasures . . . and show a real commitment to taking the 



393 



state's data seriously." Phillips also said APS has "a leadership issue, not a data 
issue." (Ex. 43). 

On March 8, 2010, the Atlanta Board of Education established the BRC and 
selected its members. It was to be funded by the Atlanta Education Fund. Gary 
Price was asked to be chair. BRC members volunteered their time and served pro 
bono. Additionally, Board of Education Chair LaChandra Butler Burks, insisted 
that she serve on the panel, even though several members of the BRC believed this 
could compromise the public's perception of the independence of this body. 

The BRC created a "working group" to run the investigation between 
meetings. Burks and Price were the only two members serving on the initial 
working group. Full time employees of AEF served as administrative support to 
the BRC. Renay Blumenthal of the Atlanta Metro Chamber provided assistance as 
needed. 

The BRC hired Caveon Test Security to conduct a security analysis and 
perform further statistical study. The BRC hired accounting firm KPMG to 
conduct interviews at the 58 schools in APS that were flagged for high erasures. 

Even though many of the classes in APS had standard deviations between 20 
and 50, the BRC did not obtain any admissions of wrongdoing during its 
investigation. Ultimately, the BRC concluded that Atlanta's written testing 
practices and procedures indicated a "tight" testing environment, with some 
improvements needed. They further concluded that there was no evidence of 



394 



centrally-coordinated cheating, but that APS should further investigate a number of 
schools and certain educators and administrators. 

TEST SECURITY 

The BRC hired Caveon Test Security to perform a security audit on its test 

procedures, to review student answer sheets, and to provide a statistical assessment 
of GOSA's erasure analysis to help prioritize their investigation. Dr. John Fremer, 
President of Caveon, and Dennis Maynes, its chief statistician, both worked on the 
project and prioritized the schools based upon what they referred to as the "Caveon 
Index." 

Both Maynes and Fremer said that the "Caveon Index" is different for each 
job based on what data is available to them. Caveon used different measures to 
look for where the probability of cheating was "the highest." Two of the measures 
Caveon used for this job were "abnormally high wrong-to-right erasures" and 
"abnormally high total erasures." According to Maynes, for its WTR erasures, 
Caveon set its probability calculation so it would only flag the worst five percent 
of the teachers. For total erasures, Caveon set its calculations to only flag those 
tests that had more than two times the median of total erasures. Before he 
calculated it, Maynes expected this would flag approximately twenty-five percent 
of the teachers in the fifty-eight schools. 

Dennis Maynes said he used some of the GOSA erasure analysis data for his 
review but chose not to use the state-wide averages and deviations. He only 



395 



examined WTR erasures in the 58 flagged schools in the district. By reducing his 
statistical universe to this highly suspect and limited set of schools, Caveon 
redefined the criteria against which a school or teacher would be flagged. 

Maynes admitted that confining his statistical model to this small set of 
highly suspect schools meant his statistical universe was "contaminated." Caveon 
believed this was appropriate, however, because their overall methodology was to 
focus on finding "the worst of the worst." Mr. Maynes further said that there was 
an enormous amount of erasures in the 58 APS schools and that there was no doubt 
that cheating was occurring in APS. 

Because of the manner by which Caveon calculated its index, and the 
contaminated statistical universe it used, many schools for which there was strong 
statistical evidence of cheating were not flagged by Caveon. Nonetheless, the 
twelve worst schools identified by the BRC are die same schools GOSA identified 
as having the highest percentage of flagged classrooms in APS. 

KPMG AND APS INTERVIEWS 

The BRC hired accounting firm KPMG to handle the BRC investigative 

efforts. Remarkably, APS never provided GOSA's erasure analysis to the BRC or 
KPMG. Therefore, KPMG did not use this information to question teachers during 
their interview process. In fact, not one teacher, principal or executive director 
ever saw the GOSA erasure analysis until confronted by us. Dr. Hall's Chief of 
Staff, Sharron Pitts, said that when she saw KPMG's proposed list of questions, 



396 



she found them to be superficial and not likely to get relevant information. 

Therefore, she said, it is not surprising that no one confessed. 

KPMG found evidence of a pervasive fear of retaliation for reporting 

wrongdoing and pressure to meet targets. KPMG interviewers told us that a 

teacher's fear of retaliation was a recurring theme. They summarized this 

information in a presentation given to the BRC. They wrote: • 

During the interview process, a common theme emerged 
that may indicate potential cultural issues to be 
considered. Investigators noticed frequent expressions of 
concern including but not limited to die folio whig: 

• Fear of job loss in the event of reporting violations and/or not 
meeting target goals; 

• Inability to trust administrators or central office; 

• Being unduly pressured to meet test score requirements. 

(Ex. 44). Chuck Riepenhoff, who supervised this work for KPMG, said this 

information was discussed during BRC executive sessions. 

BRC Chair Gary Price told us that APS did not have adequate controls to 
"keep people from crossing ethical lines." In his view, APS did not have things in 
place, such as policies and procedures, to ensure ethical conduct. They are "[a]ll 
about perform, perform, perform . . . they just don't have that culture. They were 
not in balance." He was disappointed when Dr. Hall proclaimed that the BRC 
report "vindicated" APS. Price went on to say that the BRC report did not 
vindicate Dr. Hall. 



397 



John Rice, an executive with the General Electric Company who also sat on 
the BRC, agreed with Price's sentiment. He felt that APS had "lost its balance 
between performance and ethics." He said there was no release valve for die 
performance pressure in the system. 

The BRC submitted its report to the Atlanta Board of Education on August 
2,2010. Governor Perdue found the BRC investigation into APS to be insufficient 
in scope and depth. But the BRC was never likely to uncover the truth because the 
scale of the problem in APS was too deep, given the limited resources available 
and the time restrictions on the BRC's work. While Caveon's statistical analysis 
helped prioritize the BRC's efforts, its analysis was flawed and understated the 
potential for cheating in many schools. In the end, the problem was much larger 
that anyone on the BRC could have imagined. 

APS RESPONSE TO BRC REPORT 

The BRC sent 108 certified educators' names to APS for additional 

investigation. It also referred the principals at the 12 worst schools to the district 
because it believed the extent of the circumstantial or statistical evidence was 
sufficient to conclude at least a failure of leadership. The BRC believed there was 
sufficient evidence of cheating in several other schools outside of these twelve. 
The report was presented to the Board of Education on August 2, 2010, Following 
the release of the BRC report, Dr. Hall proclaimed it as "vindication" of APS and 
proof that no system-wide cheating occurred. Dr. Hall issued a news release the 



398 



same day, trusting that "[t]he media and public will focus on the main findings of 
the report that there is no orchestrated cheating in Atlanta Public Schools . . . (Ex. 
45). Dr. Hall quoted the BRC language regarding "no district-wide effort to 
manipulate" the 2009 CRCT again, and concluded by stating that "[i]f we are 
guilty of anything, we are guilty of demanding high standards of our students, 
teachers and principals." Dr. Hall denied all responsibility for the cheating the 
BRC believed existed, but she promised to "ferret out" those responsible and 
impose severe consequences if necessary. 

As to flie 12 schools in which the BRC suspected cheating occurred, APS 
transferred those 12 principals to other positions within APS pending further 
investigation. Even though the BRC referred numerous educators back to APS for 
additional investigation, Dr. Hall announced just four days later, that she would 
refer these people to the PSC instead, without additional inquiry by the district. 
(Ex. 46). Many of those teachers had never even been interviewed by the BRC, 
much less investigated by APS. 

Although Deputy General Counsel Santhia Curtis and her staff reviewed the 
BRC report for evidence that would support these complaints, in large part, the 
sole basis for the complaints filed by APS against the teachers was "high Caveon 
index" — the statistical index used by Caveon to identify potential irregularities. 
No other explanation was provided. According to Kelly Henson, Executive 



399 



Director of the PSC, it could not take any action based on this inadequate 
information. 

We reviewed each of the PSC complaints filed, many of which were 
supplemented the very day Governor Perdue appointed us as special investigators. 
The vast majority of the complaints say only that a teacher has a high "Caveon 
Index," although no one at APS with whom we have spoken knew what this meant. 
Dr. Augustine, Millicent Few and Veleter Mazyck each acknowledged to us that 
even if a teacher has high statistical evidence showing cheating in his or her 
classroom, it does not mean that that teacher did anything wrong. Regardless, Dr. 
Hall decided to refer these employees to the PSC, issuing a news release 
publicizing her actions. 

As to the teachers referenced in the BRC report, Dr. Hall made accusations 
against them when it was obvious there was insufficient supporting evidence. Ms. 
Mazyck, Ms. Pitts and Ms. Few acknowledged that "PR" [public relations] was a 
factor in the decision. Tins was done to promote Dr. Hall's public image so she 
would appear to be taking the allegations of misconduct seriously. These 
complaints made against 108 people without further investigation by APS as 
recommended by the BRC, and without sufficient cause to believe they had acted 
improperly, are unconscionable. 



400 



THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY 

Dr. Hall had the support of community leaders after becoming 

superintendent. She courted philanthropic and business leaders rather than spend 
her days in the schools, working in the "trenches" and speaking one-on-one with 
teachers to know what was happening in her district. 

In many ways, the community was duped by Dr. Hall. While the district had 
rampant cheating, community leaders were unaware of the misconduct in the 
district. She abused the trust they placed in her. Hall became a subject of 
adoration and made herself the focus rather than the children. Her image became 
more important than reality. 

What began as a minor cheating scandal at Deerwood Academy, led to an 
investigation by a then-obscure state agency, headed by a former elementary 
school teacher. This was the first CRCT cheating by APS uncovered by a 
governmental agency, the Governor's Office of Student Achievement. Questions 
began about Dr. Hall's leadership. 

When the 2009 results were published, they were startling. Governor Perdue 
ordered an erasure analysis. There were concerns that the high scores were the 
result of cheating. 

Many of Dr. Hall's supporters defended her and the district. The possibility 
of a negative reflection on the Atlanta "brand" caused some to protect Dr. Hall and 
attack the messengers. Image was more important than the truth. 



401 



An email we obtained illustrates this belief. The email, from Senior Vice 
President of the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Renay Blumenthal, stated that the BRC 
final report is to be "finessed" past die Governor. (Ex. 47). This effort was 
unsuccessful. 

Somewhere in this process, the truth got lost, and so did the children. 

FINDINGS 

We found cheating in 44 of the 56 schools we examined (78.6%). There 
were 38 principals of those 56 schools (67.9%) found to be responsible for, or 
directly involved in, cheating. 

We determined that 178 teachers and principals in the Atlanta Public School 
System cheated. Of the 178, 82 confessed to this misconduct. Six principals 
refused to answer our questions, and pled the Fifth Amendment, which, under civil 
law is an implied admission of wrongdoing. These principals, and 32 more, either 
were involved with, or should have known that, there was test cheating in their 
schools. 

We empathize with those educators who felt they were pressured to cheat, 
and commend those who were willing to tell us the truth regarding their 
misconduct. However, this report is not meant to excuse their ethical failings, or 
exonerate them from then wrongdoings. 

The massive test score increases alone, on the CRCT beginning in 2001, 
were enough to trigger an inquiry by Dr. Hall or others to determine if the gains 



402 



were achieved legitimately. We interviewed experts in the education field, 
including teachers, principals and superintendents, who agreed that the incredible 
increases in the test scores, over a short period of time, should have drawn the 
attention of Dr. Hall and her cabinet. 

The standard deviations with regard to the WTR erasure analysis on the 
2009 CRCT were so high as to rule out any conclusion other than cheating. 
However, we stress that a high standard deviation does not always mean mat a 
particular teacher cheated because we know that some teachers' tests were changed 
by others, without their knowledge. Additionally, during the 2009 CRCT and 
previous testing years, security protocols were regularly breached with reckless 
disregard for state-mandated procedures. 

Amazingly, while APS was in denial, entities such as The Atlanta Journal- 
Constitution, recognized these gains as extraordinary and began raising questions 
as early as 2001. The AJC questioned test score gains in APS in 2006 and 2009. 
Never once did Dr. Hall, or other officials, investigate to confirm that these scores 
were legitimate. While others were questioning these gains, Dr. Hall staunchly 
denied that the scores were a result of cheating, attributing the gains to their 
educational initiatives and prowess. To make matters worse, the district then 
touted the principals at schools with the highest increase in scores, like Parks 
Middle School, as models of APS and the district's achievements. 



403 



Publicly, the district flatly rejected any suggestion of test misconduct, but 
internally, Dr. Hall and her administration received numerous reports of cheating at 
a number of schools. She ignored them, hid them, or attempted to explain them 
away. In 2006, an APS investigator concluded that cheating occurred on an Eighth 
Grade Writing Test at Parks Middle School. Dr. Hall took no action, despite 
evidence that the principal may have been involved in making students change test 
answers. Instead, she ordained the principal at Parks as the poster child for how a 
school can turn around. Ironically, when numerous principals and teachers were 
asked during this investigation if they believed cheating occurred in APS, they 
immediately pointed to Parks Middle School, and its principal. 

In 2009, when the district received an open records request seeking all 
complaints of cheating, certain administrators illegally altered the complaint log (a 
public document) to minimize the number of complaints and hide files that would 
have cast APS in a negative light. Similarly, when an expert, hired by APS 
produced a report which suggested that cheating could be one explanation for large 
score gains, Dr. Hall deleted that report from her computer. It was never made 
public by the district. 

Dr. Hall pledged "full cooperation" with this investigation, but did not 
deliver. The district's responses to our subpoenas were slow and often incomplete. 
APS withheld documents and information from us. Many district officials we 
interviewed were not truthful. 



404 



On multiple occasions, APS administrators attempted to explain away 
evidence of cheating. On the summer 2008 CRCT retest at Deerwood Academy, 
they manipulated and softened the report of the purportedly "independent" 
investigator. Likewise, when GOSA produced the 2009 erasure analysis, APS 
tried to secrete that data, such that only the highest ranking district administrators 
saw it. 

Rather than use the GOSA analysis to aid in its investigation (through the 
BRC), APS created its own internal study to explain how the high erasures were 
not the result of cheating. Dr. Hall never shared the GOSA erasure analysis with 
her executive directors, principals or teachers, instead showing them the APS 
internal analysis. She knew this information was not shared with the BRC and that 
they had only seen Caveon's flawed analysis. BRC members never saw the very 
document that laid the foundation for its investigation. 

APS became such a "data-driven" system, with unreasonable and excessive 
pressure to meet targets, that Dr. Hall and her senior cabinet lost sight of 
conducting tests with integrity. This immense pressure to meet targets placed on 
principals was imposed upon the classroom teachers. Meeting targets "by any 
means necessary" became more important than actual student achievement. 

Dr. Hall and her cabinet knew or should have known that cheating was 
occurring on the CRCT. For years, they disregarded warning signs or failed to see 
them. If they failed to see the warnings, they were not the leaders they claimed to 



405 



be. And if they disregarded them, it was a gross and willful breach of their duty to 
the children of Atlanta. 

As a result, school children were harmed by the failure to honestly measure 
their academic achievements, depriving them of the educational assistance they 
needed, and to which they were entitled. 

Dr. Sharon Davis-Williams 

Dr. Sharon Davis- Williams, Executive Director of SRT-1, failed in her 

responsibility for testing activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, 
and proper security for, the 2009 CRCT. Williams failed to properly monitor the 
2009 CRCT and adequately supervise testing activities and test security in SRT-1 . 
This resulted in, and she is responsible for aiding and abetting Dr. Hall in 
falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the evaluation of students to 
the State Department of Education with regard to the results of the 2009 CRCT. 

We conclude that Sharon Davis-Williams either knew or should have known 
cheating and other misconduct was occurring within schools in SRT-1. 

Michael Pitts 

Michael Pitts, Executive Director of SRT-2, failed in his responsibility for 
testing activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper security 
for, the 2009 CRCT in SRT-2. Pitts failed to properly monitor the 2009 CRCT, 
and adequately supervise testing activities and test security in SRT-2. This 
resulted in, and he is responsible for aiding and abetting Dr. Hall in falsifying, 



406 



misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the evaluation of students to the State 
Department of Education with regard to the results of the 2009 CRCT. 

We conclude that Michael Pitts either knew or should have known cheating 
and other misconduct was occurring within schools in SRT-2. 

More particularly, we conclude that Michael Pitts had knowledge of 
cheating at Parks Middle School and aided and abetted cheating at this school by: 

• Failing to investigate allegations of cheating and reports that 
attendance records had been falsified; 

• Discouraging teachers from making complaints against 
Principal Christopher Waller; and 

• Advising teachers at Parks Middle School not to cooperate with 
this investigation. 

Finally, when questioned about these allegations, Pitts provided false 
information to us. 

Tamara Cotman 

Tamara Cotman, Executive Director of SRT-4, failed in her responsibility 
for testing activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of, and proper 
security for, the 2009 CRCT in SRT-4. Cotman failed to a properly monitor the 
2009 CRCT, and adequately supervise testing activities and test security in SRT-4. 
This resulted in, and she is responsible for aiding and abetting Dr. Hall in 
falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the evaluation of students to 
the Georgia Department of Education with regard to the results of the 2009 CRCT. 



407 



We conclude that Tamara Cotinan either knew or should have known 
cheating and other misconduct was occurring within schools in SRT-4. 

Finally, when questioned about these matters and the "Go to Hell" meeting, 
she provided false information to us. 

Veleter Mazyck 

As General Counsel for APS, Ms. Mazyck's conduct raised the following 
concerns. 

She attempted to manipulate and influence the outcome of the investigation 
into potential cheating at Deerwood Academy in 2008. 

When questioned about the Deerwood Academy investigation and other 
matters, she provided less than candid responses. 

Millicent Few 

Millicent Few, Chief Human Resources Officer, on two occasions ordered 
those under her supervision to illegally destroy and alter public documents in order 
to hide evidence related to test cheating and misconduct. 

When asked about these matters, Ms. Few made false statements. 

Dr. Kathy Augustine 

Dr. Kathy Augustine, Deputy Superintendent for Instruction and 

Curriculum, failed in her responsibility for testing activities and for ensuring the 
ethical administration of and proper security for the CRCT in 2009, as well as in 
previous years. Dr. Augustine failed to properly monitor the CRCT in 2009 and in 



408 



previous years, and to adequately supervise testing activities and test security. 
This resulted in, and she is responsible for, aiding and abetting Dr. Hall in 
falsifying, misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the evaluation of students to 
the State Department of Education with regard to the results of the 2009 CRCT in 
the APS system. 

Dr. Augustine had a legal and ethical duty not to falsify, misrepresent, omit 
or erroneously report information submitted to governmental agencies. We 
conclude that Dr. Augustine violated this duty by intentionally causing a letter 
containing false information to be transmitted to the state. Specifically, Dr. 
Augustine caused and allowed a letter to be transmitted to the state indicating that 
the investigation into allegations of cheating at Deerwood Academy was complete 
and that no evidence of cheating had been found. 

We conclude that Dr. Augustine either knew or should have known cheating 
and other misconduct was occurring in schools in the APS system. 

Finally, when questioned about the Deerwood Academy investigation and 
other matters, she made false statements. 

Dr. Beverly Hall 

Dr. Beverly Hall, Superintendent of the Atlanta Public School System, was 
ultimately responsible for honestly and accurately reporting information to the 
State of Georgia regarding the evaluation of students. She certified to the Georgia 
Department of Education that the district "adhered to all written regulations and 



409 



procedures relating to testing and test administration including the distribution and 
collection of test materials, test security, use of these results and department testing 
dates and the reporting of irregularities" as required by the relevant guidelines and 
test manuals. It is our finding from the statistical data and other evidence, that Dr. 
Hall's certification to the state was false. 

Dr. Hall failed in her leadership of, and ultimate responsibility for, testing 
activities and for ensuring the ethical administration of the CRCT in 2009, as well 
as in previous years. This resulted in, and she is responsible for, falsifying, 
misrepresenting or erroneously reporting the evaluation of students to the State 
Department of Education with regard to the results of the 2009 CRCT in the APS 
system. 

Finally, we conclude that Dr. Hall either knew or should have known 
cheating and other misconduct was occurring in the APS system. 



410 



GLOSSARY 



TERM 


DEFINITION 


APS 


Atlanta Public Schools. An independent school system in the City 
of Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Officially the "Atlanta 
Independent School System." 


AYP 


Adequate Yearly Progress. Part of the federal No Child Left 
Behind Act of 2001, AYP is a measure of year-to-year student 
achievement on statewide assessments. Schools, school districts, 
and states must demonstrate a certain level of performance on 
reading and/or language arts and mathematics assessments. 
Schools that do not "meet AYP" for two consecutive years in the 
same subject area are designated as schools in "Needs 
Improvement." 


Certified educator 


Individuals trained in education who hold teaching, leadership, 
service, technical specialist, or permit certification issued by the 
PSC. 


Classroom level data 


CRCT erasure analysis data for specific teacher or homeroom, 
including the subject tested, number of students, total number of 
wrong to right erasures, and resulting standard deviation. 


Confessed 


Admitted to the truth of a charge or accusation. 


Convocation 


Annual celebration held by APS to recognize schools that have 
met at least 70 percent of its perf ormance targets. All APS 
schools' faculty are expected to attend. 


CRCT 


Criterion-Referenced Competency Test. A standardized test 
used by Georgia as the AYP assessment tool for elementary and 
middle schools. Tests grades 1-8 in reading, English/language 
arts, and math. In addition, grades 3-8 are tested in science and 
social studies. 


ELA 


English /language arts 


Fifth (5 th ) Amendment 


The privilege against self-incrimination grounded in the Fifth 
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, providing that no person 
will be compelled to be a witness against himself. In a criminal 
case, if a defendant invokes the 5 Amendment and refuses to 
testify, he may not be presumed guilty based on that refusal. 
However, in a civil case, if a witness invokes the 5 th Amendment 
and refuses to answer questions concerning whether he or she 
committed a particular act, it creates an implied admission that a 
truthful answer would tend to prove that the witness had 
committed the act " Perez v. Atlanta Check Cashers, Inc., 302 
Ga. App. 864, 870 (2010). 


GOSA 


Governor's Office of Student Achievement. State agency which 
provides accountability for Georgia's schools, pre-K through 
postsecondary levels. The intent is to improve student 
achievement and school completion in Georgia. 


GTRLD# 


Unique identification number assigned to each student. 



411 



IEP 

Implicated 


Individualized Education Program. Free, appropriate, public 
special education services which students with certain disabilities 
or impairments are eligible to receive. An ffiP J s a written plan 
developed by a team of teachers, other qualified personnel , 
parents guardians, and the student if appropriate. i 
Shown to be also involved, usually m an incriminating manner. 


LA 
MA 

Makes the floor 


Language arts _ — 

Mathematics - — - — 

At Convocation, schools that "make the tloor " nave met at least 

70 percent of its targets. Those schools' faculty members are 

c^-a in (vrnnns rm the floor of the host venue, with the schools 
seated in iiroiius \jh mc livjvh m-iv "vj* ^ 

meeting the highest percentage of its targets seated closest to the 
stage. Schools that do not make the floor are seated in bleachers 
or other remote sea ti n ■ 


Meets, exceeds 


t» „-f™-o +^ n moacni-pmpTit nQiiall v exnressed as apeicentage, oi 
Iveiers to a measuieniem, u&ucmy wvyi^o^wu ^ r~ j 

students who "met" or "exceeded" state standards in certain core 

curriculum subjects (math, reading, English/language arts, 

t ,, • , jrir i cfV .; n i cttirl^nK^ as measured bv the CRCT. 


Monitors 


Persons assigned to a school to observe test admmistiauon 
procedures; e.g. test distribution, test collection, storage of test 
materials. Observes testing sites to see that schedules are being 
followed, reports unusual activity. 


OIR 


APS Office of Internal Resolution/Employee Relations. 

r> ^^^0^.-, -.r,^ ;tiw*»o+io-flf-f»c mmnlaints and reports of employee 
Processes and investigates cuinpianua cuiv* ivpwno ^ ~ r j 

wrongdoing and related employment matters. 




A person who may have less than protessional-level certification, 
who relates in role and function to a professional and does a , 

, • p.i,„ „,.-,pr.r.n; n oi 1 c ir\K nnHprthe nrnfessional s 
portion 01 the protessionai s \oo unuci mc piuicooiuiiai 

supervision, and whose decision-making authority is limited and 

regulated by the professional. O.C.G.A. § 20-2-204. Georgia 

paraprofessionals must be certified bv the PSC. 


PDP 


r» c „■ ™ , nn m a n t plan A nlan develoned and 
Protessionai ueveiopmeni riaii. r\. pian ucv^wpvu 

implemented to correct perceived deficiencies in performance of 

teachers and administrators, used to encourage and support 

i improvement in specific areas. 


PEC 


v™or»m for ttxrentional Children. Program offering specialized, 1 
educational testing, evaluation and other services to eligible 
children with certain disabilities or impairments. Each eligible 
student must have an IEP. . 


Pr<>nr>nripranrp of the evidence 


A standard of proof in civil cases. Evidence which is of greaLer 
weight or more convincing than the evidence which is offered in 
opposition to it; that is, evidence which as a whole shows that the 
fact sought to be proved is more probable than not. 


Proctors 


Persons assigned to monitor classrooms or other specific areas 
during testing; circulate to observe students and discourage 
misconduct; assist test examiner to maintain testing security; 
report unusual activity or irregularities. 



412 



Prompting 



PSC 



RD 



RPA 



Social promotion 



SRTs 



Standard deviation 



Student level data 



Stray marks 



Targets 



Testing accommodation 



Totality of the evidence 



WTR 



A^mlstudents during testing by use of verbal or nonverbal 
Smples include voice inflection, pointing to answers, 
ep tition oJrephrasing of words or passages, P^«^* 
movements, sounds, or signals meant to ^ 
a^or^co^^^ 

r, P or 2 ia Professional Standards Commission. A state agency 
created "to set and apply high standards for the preparation, 
certification, and continued licensing of Georgia public 
educators " The PSC also handles the investigation and due 
process of cases ^ disciplinary action. 

Tuff Department of Ke leTrch, Planning and Accountability. 
ZongSer functions, RPA manages and oversees all testing 

SSthet^ 

School Reform Teams. APS is organized into tour (4) 

schools and parents- 



^esTat represents the average difference between mdividual 
Sores ami the mean. The more the scores cluster around the 
n^ the smaller the standar d deviation 

SSSffli^ .be JL, of «— « 

the "h"t»h1p " nr oval area where a nsw ercho .ce S are to be marked. _ 
^^^^ 

.necific nerformance goals set for each school at the beginning or 
Z ^ sclool year. The targets are based on quantifiable measures, 
ortaarilv CRCT test scores, and also include factors such as 

f gge in a test administratio n that modifies how a student 
takes or responds to the assessment. Accommodations are 
dts gned oVovide equity and serve to level the playing field for 
ILJ disabilities and English Language Learners 
— -; — : ^777T7^T7ti^ftlif» rirciirnstances o 



narticular case, r ather than an y one factor — ^ 

CnSo - Right = an incorrect a nswer choice is erased and 
changed to a correct answer 
detected by erasure analysis usir " ■ - 1 



413